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Dr. Barry Eppley

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Surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley

Human-derived Collagen for Facial Injections – Where is it Today?

As an extension of animal-derived collagen, the development of human-based collagen material for cosmetic injections was inevitable and based on the science of cell culture technology. CosmoDerm™ I and II and CosmoPlast™ (sound similar to Zyderm™ and Zyplast™ ?) are injectable implants derived from highly purified human collagen. Both CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast were FDA-approved for use in facial aesthetic enhancement in March 2003 and are the only FDA approved injectable fillers made from human collagen.The collagen is cultured from a single cell line of human dermal fibroblasts that has been used for over ten years to manufacture human-based tissues; these cells produce natural collagen that is then isolated and purified for injection. Like its ‘cow cousins’, CosmoDerm™ and CosmoPlast™ differ in the concentration of collagen per cc. and both have a local anesthetic agent (lidocaine) in them for pain control after injection.
Despite the tremendous appeal of combining two biologically favorable concepts, collagen and human-derived, the actual results with these injectable materials appears to be quite similar to bovine collagen. No study has ever been reported that has shown that it produces longer-lasting results, no matter how intriguing this combination should be. In theory, one would think that human-derived collagen would be much less prone to being broken down and would have a longer-lasting effect. But this apparently is not so. Human or animal, collagen is only a very temporary resident in the human body.
The biggest advantage to human collagen injections is that no skin testing is required prior to treatment. Because it is created from purified human collagen, the risk of an allergic reaction to it is much less than with extracts from animal material. While this is a great advantage over Zyderm™ and Zyplast™, the plethora of hyaluronic acid injectable fillers (and other compositions as well) today has made this advantage irrelevant.
Collagen injection implants, albeit derived from cows or humans, turns out to be only a very temporary space filler. They are reasonably well-tolerated for a short time but do not invoke any collagen production or formation that would provide for some thickening effect that would lead to a longer-term result. In short, collagen does not appear to make collagen in human skin. While all other injectable fillers are only temporary also, their mechanisms of breakdown are much slower and they therefore have a longer lasting effect. This has relegated the collagen injection materials to an almost historic role in aesthetic facial treatments.


Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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