Clinical and color Doppler ultrasound evaluation of polyacrylamide injection in HIV patients with severe facial lipoatrophy secondary to antiretroviral therapy

Skin Res Technol. 2017 May;23(2):243-248. doi: 10.1111/srt.12329. Epub 2016 Oct 30.


Background/purpose: Facial lipoatrophy in HIV patients, secondary to antiretroviral therapy (ART) with thymidine analogs, has been related to important psychosocial alterations and poor adherence to treatment. Polyacrylamide gel (PAAG) is a filler that has been used for treating facial lipoatrophy in HIV patients. The aim was to assess the clinical and sonographic anatomical changes after injection of PAAG in HIV patients with facial lipoatrophy secondary to ART.

Methods: HIV patients receiving ART and suffering from severe facial lipoatrophy were recruited and underwent clinical and color Doppler ultrasound evaluation prior to PAAG application (AQUAMID® ) and sonographically monitored at 18 months and clinically followed up for 36 months after the procedure. Adverse effects were recorded based on occurrence and complexity.

Results: A total of 33 patients were evaluated, 30 men (91%) and 3 women (9%) with an average age of 49.6 years (±8.4). Clinical improvement assessed by a dermatologist had an average score of 5.9 (±0.7) on a scale of 1-7. On color Doppler ultrasound there was a significant increase of the thickness of the subcutaneous tissue (SCT) in both nasofold lines when comparing before and after PAAG injection (P < 0.01) and no signs of inflammation (hypervascularity). User satisfaction was qualified as excellent or good in all cases. Only two patients experienced adverse effects (hematoma and puncture site infection), which was successfully managed without consequences.

Conclusion: Treatment of facial lipoatrophy with PAAG seems to be effective in HIV patients and no signs of complications were observed in the monitoring at 36 months after injection. Color Doppler ultrasound can identify the filler deposits and the anatomical changes of the SCT non-invasively.

Keywords: HIV; antiretroviral therapy; dermatologic ultrasound; facial lipoatrophy; filler; fillers ultrasound; polyacrylamide; skin ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Dermal Fillers / administration & dosage
  • Facial Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Facial Dermatoses / diagnostic imaging*
  • Facial Dermatoses / therapy*
  • Female
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / chemically induced
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color / methods*


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Dermal Fillers
  • polyacrylamide gels