PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate) Filler

Most types of injectable fillers used in cosmetic medicine are temporary, meaning that they are absorbed by the body within a few months, or semipermanent, meaning that they are absorbed within several months. One permanent type of injectable filler for cosmetic use contains polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), a clear acrylic plastic. One brand name of PMMA filler is Artefill┬«, which is called Aretecoll┬« outside the United States. 

Acrylic plastics are used widely and known as Plexiglas and Lucite. In medicine, PMMA is used in many kinds of implants including intraocular implants used after cataract removal and as a bone cement in orthopedics. Hard contact lenses are often made of PMMA.

As an injectable filler, PMMA is formulated into microscopic spheres that are suspended in a carrier of collagen with a small amount of the anesthetic lidocaine. It is used to permanently raise indented scars and fill in folds like the nasolabial folds. PMMA filler can also used to make the cheekbones, chin, or jaw more prominent. Because this filler contains collagen, which is known to cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of people, an allergy test is needed before treatment.

Use as an Injectable Filler

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved PMMA as a cosmetic injectable filler in 2006, to treat nasolabial folds, which means that all other uses are off-label. However, a physician can use an FDA-approved product for any purpose that he or she feels is valid and this injectable is being used on other parts of the face and body. However, because of the thickness and durability of this filler, it should not be used on thinner skin. 

PMMA filler is injected into the skin using a syringe. The physician places the needle of the syringe in the treatment area and pulls it out as the filler is injected. This leaves a thin thread-like deposit of the PMMA product. Eventually, the body absorbs the collagen carrier, but the microscopic spheres of PMMA remain in place. They are not absorbed by the body and area thought to stimulate the production of more collagen in the treated area. The results with a PMMA filler last a very long time and perhaps indefinitely. 

Your surgeon will mark your face with a pen to show where the injections will be placed. You should try to keep the treated area as still as possible for a few days.

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