Comparing Efficacy and Costs of Four Facial Fillers in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Associated Lipodystrophy: A Clinical Trial

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Mar;141(3):613-623. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004173.


Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the safety and effectiveness of four different dermal fillers in the treatment of facial lipoatrophy secondary to human immunodeficiency virus.

Methods: The authors conducted a clinical trial including 147 patients suffering from human immunodeficiency virus-induced lipoatrophy treated with Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid), Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapatite), Aquamid (polyacrylamide), or autologous fat. Objective and subjective changes were evaluated during a 24-month follow-up. Number of sessions, total volume injected, and overall costs of treatment were also analyzed. A comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of the treatment options was performed.

Results: Objective improvement in facial lipoatrophy, assessed by the surgeon in terms of changes from baseline using the published classification of Fontdevila, was reported in 53 percent of the cases. Patient self-evaluation showed a general improvement after the use of facial fillers. Patients reported being satisfied with the treatment and with the reduced impact of lipodystrophy on their quality of life. Despite the nonsignificant differences observed in the number of sessions and volume, autologous fat showed significantly lower costs than all synthetic fillers (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Surgical treatment of human immunodeficiency virus-associated facial lipoatrophy using dermal fillers is a safe and effective procedure that improves the aesthetic appearance and the quality of life of patients. Permanent fillers and autologous fat achieve the most consistent results over time, with lipofilling being the most cost-effective procedure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dermal Fillers / economics
  • Dermal Fillers / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / economics
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life


  • Dermal Fillers