Selphyl: a filler you make yourself

Selphyl is a new facial filler that’s getting a lot of buzz. It’s made on site at the doctor’s office, using a few vials of your own blood. Twenty minutes later, after processing, an amber-colored liquid is ready to inject into facial wrinkles. While it’s not a filler itself, the liquid contains platelets and platelet-derived growth factors, which stimulate your tissues to produce more collagen. At least, that’s the theory.This technology has been around for a while, but previously was limited to reconstructive applications. The Selphyl people have come up with an easy system to make it a convenient, standardized, in-office technique, and have taken it through the FDA approval process. The product is designed to be used in the correction of facial lines and wrinkles.

This stuff, however, isn’t for someone looking for a bargain. A typical Selphyl treatment costs about $2000, about 3-4 times the cost of our typical fillers. The company claims the duration of the treatment effect is 2 years – and so that makes it cheaper in the long run, compared to Restylane or Juvederm.

It also works differently than many other fillers. Restylane or Juvederm directly fill the area with their gel. Instant gratification. Selphyl, on the other hand, fools the body into making extra collagen by means of growth factors. It’s the new collagen which then gradually fills the area. Because of the lag time in collagen production, it takes 2 -3 weeks to see the desired results. If your body doesn’t make much collagen, you won’t see much effect. Selphyl is not recommended for patients over age 65 for this very reason.

So far, I’ve only seen 3 papers on Selphyl, all by the same author. So much of the data is still preliminary. We don’t yet know how long the effect lasts; the longest duration data I’ve seen on Selphyl is only out to 12 weeks.

Many practices are promoting it as a facelift-replacement, which as you can see is a patently silly claim. Selphyl will help to volumize an area, and the platelet-derived growth factors may have some other, as yet unknown, rejuvenative effects on the quality of the skin – but that’s it. There’s absolutely no reason to expect tightening of loose necks, lifting of jowls, or the other typical effects that we get with a surgical facelift.

Bottom line: interesting product, but need to see more data before I start using it.
Pros: autologous filler;
Cons: Pricey. About 10% of people get no significant benefit from it, even if they are under age 65.

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