Cosmetic Use of Poly-l-Lactic Acid: A Retrospective Study of 130 Patients

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Poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) is an effective treatment for patients seeking to correct volume loss due to aging. Although the Food and Drug Administration has approved PLLA for use in people with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is well-suited for patients seeking cosmetic treatment.


To evaluate the efficacy and incidence of adverse events of HIV-negative patients treated with PLLA for volume restoration.


This is a retrospective, single-center study of 130 HIV-negative patients treated with PLLA from 2003 to 2008. Patient satisfaction and incidence of adverse reactions were evaluated.


The most common reaction to PLLA treatment was the formation of nodules (8.5%). Almost all of the nodules were palpable; only one was visible. Treatment areas with the highest incidence of post-treatment nodules were the hands (12.5%) and cheeks (7.2%). Overall, patients were satisfied, with 55% having good to excellent correction; 75% of patients with five or more treatments rated their correction as good to excellent. Sixty-eight percent of all patients would repeat the procedure again.


PLLA is a safe, biodegradable volumizer used to reverse the signs of aging by gradually correcting volume loss. Patients should be aware of possible adverse reactions during the course of treatment. Nodule formation is low, with most patients having good to excellent correction.


Drs. Butterwick and Goldman are consultants for Sanofi-Aventis.

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