Bellafill: A Love Story


If I could only have one aesthetic procedure done for the rest of my life it would be filler, as for me it makes a bigger difference than anything else, hands down. By now I’ve tried them all, but Bellafill has saved me so much money and aggravation that it holds a special place in my heart. Mine really is a kind of love story, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’ll start by telling you about what makes Bellafill so special in general…

If you Google “Bellafill” you‘ll see that it’s approved by the FDA for the correction of smile lines and acne scars. It’s very good at these things, but in the hands of a skilled injector, it can also be used to augment the cheeks, lift sagging jowls, fill out sunken temples, and more. These are what are referred to as “off-label” use: applications that the product wasn’t officially developed or approved for (but often works quite well for).

Courtesy of Bellafill/Suneva

Bellafill is unlike any other filler on the market today mostly due to its longevity. The results can last indefinitely.

While a good majority of fillers today are composed of hyaluronic acid, Bellafill is 80% bovine collagen and 20 % polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Upon injection, the collagen provides instant volume. Then over time, your body absorbs that 80% collagen, leaving behind the 20% that is the PMMA microspheres. The microspheres act like a scaffolding, providing support for wrinkle correction or loss of volume. These microspheres are what last indefinitely. They begin to mingle with your body’s collagen to provide a natural look and feel.

Courtesy of Bellafill/Suneva
Courtesy of Bellafill/Suneva

Now, if the prospect of semi-permanent results makes you wary, realize that with Bellafill it’s a gradual process of building up volume where you want it. A syringe or two of Bellafill can give you an idea of what things might look like should you continue to build fullness in that area. Remember that 80% of the fullness you see will be absorbed by your body in a few months, leaving you with a more subdued long-term result. (You wouldn’t want it any other way with a more permanent filler like this, by the way. Little by little is your best bet—as you can always add but not take away.) You could also decide to start with a short-term filler too, just to see if you like the look.

It’s always a little funny to me that people will balk at the prospect of a semi-permanent filler, but will eagerly sign up for surgical procedures that will surely be permanent. With a surgical procedure, you don’t have the luxury of monitoring its gradual development little by little over several months like with Bellafill, either. You wake up, and what’s done is done.

Sometimes an experienced injector will use Bellafill as a deep structural filler to mimic bone volume. The PMMA microspheres in Bellafill can actually be used like a surgical implant. Dr. Pierone at One Aesthetics says he uses it for places like the “malar eminence, mandible, and chin” when necessary.

With each syringe of Bellafill you purchase, you are making a long-term investment in your face, whereas with more temporary fillers you are merely “renting” their “corrective services.”  My personal experience with this product demonstrates this concept perfectly.

My frustrating experience with dermal fillers: Juvederm

I’ve always been a thin, active person, so as early as age thirty I started to be bothered by the loss of volume around my nose and mouth. I did some research and found a  plastic surgeon in my city with good reviews. I knew I wanted my nasolabial folds injected (the lines or folds that run from the corner of your mouth to the sides of your nose). The doctor agreed I would benefit. He recommended a product called Juvederm and told me the correction would last “up to a year.”

Before and after Juvederm injections to the nasolabial folds (Courtesy of Allergen)

Radiesse

I must’ve gotten to about the two-month mark with Juverderm when it appeared I was already due for another treatment. Discouraged that the money I spent only got me a two-month correction, I asked for something different upon my next visit. The doctor speculated that perhaps my fast metabolism was to blame and suggested we try a filler called Radiesse. While Juvederm is composed of hyaluronic acid, Radiesse is made of something called calcium hydroxylapatite. Results are said to last up to a year or more.

Before and after Radiesse injections to the nasolabial folds (Courtesy of Merz Pharma)

Radiesse didn’t end up lasting much longer for me, sadly. I became one of the more frequent visitors to that plastic surgeon’s office, as I was constantly in need of a touch-up.

Voluma

One day when I visited for my bi-monthly “re-fill,” my plastic surgeon told me about a new product from Juvederm called Voluma. Voluma is unique in that the hyaluronic acid is cross-linked in a way that is meant to help slow degradation. It ’s been shown in studies to last up to 2 years.

Courtesy of Juvederm Voluma/Allergen

Voluma is marketed for the enhancement of mid-face volume. My doctor suggested adding a bit of volume to my cheeks and was willing to try injecting some Voluma into my nasolabial folds as well. I was so hopeful that this was finally the product that would last for me.

It was my first injection to my cheeks, and boy, did I love the look! It gave me such a boost of confidence to enhance my appearance so noticeably and instantly.  While my new fuller cheeks stayed with me for a bit longer than I was used to, within about a month and a half it was as if my doctor had put nothing in my nasolabial folds to speak of.*  I felt like crying. Nothing was lasting! I just wanted to maintain my results like everyone around me seemed to be able to.

*(In areas of the face that move more, say from talking and chewing, dermal fillers tend to break down faster.)

After he had exhausted everything in his arsenal, my plastic surgeon sat me down one day and told me that he no longer felt comfortable injecting dermal fillers into my nasolabial folds. He said he felt I was just flushing my money down the toilet. I left his office in tears.

The very next day I was on the phone with a different plastic surgeon in my city. I was fully aware of how impractical the whole situation was. I had seen what filler was capable of though, and when it would just sort of evaporate from my face, I felt I looked twice as old and haggard as before. 

I was at no point oblivious to how much this was all costing me, and I felt guilty and ashamed. I loved the way I looked with my smile lines corrected and my face a bit fuller, though! I felt so much more youthful and lovely. Feeling better about the way I looked gave me confidence in other areas of my life too, somehow.  Was I just supposed to stop looking and feeling better about myself?! Or was I supposed to slowly throw away my life savings in the name of vanity?

Bellafill

I’d been on the frustrating filler “merry-go-round” for nearly five years when my husband and I purchased a vacation condo in Florida. My husband suggested I look for someone in Florida who might have a different solution or approach. The internet turned up something called “Bellafill” and Dr. Gerald Pierone. Bellafill wasn’t something that was offered anywhere nearby me at the time. I was highly skeptical by then that anything would last in my face—but I was also desperate.

Courtesy of Bellafill/Suneva

The most important thing I can tell you about Bellafill is to be sure you choose an experienced and credentialed injector. When you’re talking about having something injected that could potentially be in your face forever, you want to be in the hands of an expert. When you read reviews for Bellafill, I feel you’re often reading reviews on the injector. The product itself is wonderful in skilled hands. Dr. Pierone is actually the leading injector of Bellafill in the U.S. and is a nationally recognized trainer and researcher. He’s done over 20,000 procedures with dermal fillers.

When I went for my first appointment, I pointed out the loss of volume in my nasolabial folds to Dr. Pierone. This had been my focus for so long it was all I could see. While he acknowledged that some filler in that area would help, he looked at my face as a whole and noted an overall loss of volume in the mid to lower portion. This was something that kind of bothered me but wasn’t something I thought could be addressed through the use of fillers.

From the way he assessed my face to his detailed plan of attack, I could tell that Dr. Pierone was not only an experienced and skillful injector but an artist.

At this first appointment, Dr. Pierone injected four syringes of Bellafill. When he handed me the mirror I was just beside myself. The transformation was so far and above any expectations I could’ve had. I felt as though he’d just taken fifteen years off my face.

I came back three months later and he injected three syringes. For my next appointment I required only two, and now when I visit he might use some PDO threads to do a little touching up. Once in a great while, he will inject one syringe of Bellafill. (Keep in mind, as time goes by our faces continue to age and lose volume.)

Remember, initially you are building up those PMMA microspheres, which can take several injections spaced apart. You must let the bovine collagen be absorbed before more Bellafill can be placed. This allows the injector to see where more volume is needed.

Bellafill: Before & After (Me)
Bellafill: Before & After (Me)

The good news is I now have had Bellafill in my face for over three years, and I’m thrilled to report it’s still going strong! I love what I see in the mirror now thanks to Bellafill and Dr. Pierone. The best part is my results should last for years to come. If you compare what I was spending before Bellafill to what I’m spending now, the savings are huge!

Bellafill: Before & After (courtesy of One Aesthetics)

 

Bellafill: Before & After (courtesy of One Aesthetics)
Bellafill: Before & After (courtesy of One Aesthetics)

Bellafill for acne scars

Bellafill is the only dermal filler that is FDA approved to treat acne scars. Most dermal fillers last a few months, but Bellafill lasts indefinitely, making it an enduring solution for filling out depressed areas of the skin.

Upon injection, Bellafill raises the divots to the level of the surrounding skin. Over time, the body absorbs the collagen, while the PMMA microspheres remain. They act as a scaffolding, providing sustained support under the previously depressed areas. The microspheres eventually mingle with your body’s collagen giving a smooth, natural look and feel.

Photo credit: Bellafill

Dr. Pierone at One Aesthetics uses a combination of treatments to tackle atrophic acne scarring: Subcision (a minor surgical procedure that loosens any fibers tethering the skin down), placement of PDO threads (to encourage collagen and tightening of the skin), and Bellafill.

Photo credit: Dr. Gerald Pierone Jr. Before and after Bellafill

In conclusion

I don’t know what would’ve become of me if I hadn’t found Bellafill and Dr. Pierone. Those were some dark days, constantly at the plastic surgeon’s office like a drug addict in need of my next fix.

(Disclaimer: Plenty of people have success with Juvederm, Radiesse, Voluma, etc., so don’t let my failure with them scare you off. My experience isn’t the norm when it comes to these dermal fillers. If you’re looking for more permanence though, Bellafill is the very best option.)

A reputable injector should offer you a free consultation to answer any questions you have, and show you how Bellafill would specifically benefit your face. Amie at One Aesthetics would be thrilled to set up a free consultation for you with Dr. Pierone. She was a huge help prior to my appointment and is always a text message away should you have any questions.

 

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Amanda
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I like how you say that Bellafill is FDA approved to actually treat acne scars. My teenage years were filled with acne, and a number of them scarred. It wasn’t a good time for me. Now, though, I want to change that, so I’ll have to find someone who’ll be able to treat me with Bellafill.

lynn
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lynn

Wow! if I’m reading your bellafill treatment correctly, your relatively youthful face needed 9 syringes?! Assuming the price is about $700 per syringe, that is over 6,000 dollars! I can’t argue with the beautiful results you’ve shared, but that is CERTAINLY a high upfront cost.

dee
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dee

even patients with a mid-face lift will probably still need volume with a filler to get a youthful, natural looking result. for younger people under 50, bellafill is an option to consider against spending $6,000-12,000 for a mid face lift! but yes, it is expensive. it’s primary selling points are minimal invasiveness (injections vs. open surgery of the face), and very long lasting results. with bellafill injections a patient can go back to work the same day. there’s (usually) no bruising, recovery time, or risk of post-op infection. a person usually needs to be out of public view (ie work)… Read more »

dee
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dee

ha fillers last maybe 6 months, more realistic 4 months. they cost 2/3 of bellafill. bellafill is actually permanent though clinical studies thus far are only out covering patients for 5 years. and obviously your face continues to age so you will need more. in a few areas it’s not clinically safe to use belleafill. for those areas you’ll need to still use an ha filler until a new product come out. very few doctors offer bellafill. one reason is obviously economic, but the other is very important too. if a patient’s not pleased with the result of a bellefill… Read more »