Facial Lipoatrophy and the Place of Ultrasound

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Interest in facial lipoatrophy (LA) has recently intensified; this phenomenon is linked to the rise in the number of people adversely affected by the condition as a side effect of antiretroviral treatment for HIV, combined with the growing number of cosmetic products that claim to be able to correct the appearance of LA. Despite growing awareness of the problem, there is at present no standard and accepted technique with which to assess the severity of LA.

OBJECTIVE

This review explores facial LA, the use of ultrasound in the evaluation of facial LA, its advantages and disadvantages, and will place the technique in the context of other means of assessing regional skin and fat thickness.

METHOD

Review of literature published on PubMed.

RESULTS

Ultrasound, as with any technique used to assess facial LA, is associated with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

CONCLUSIONS

Studies that use a number of different techniques to evaluate changes in dermal thickness provide the greatest insight into both perceived and actual changes in facial LA. Further investigation into the use of these techniques is warranted, along with a formal consensus of facial LA grades.

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