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What is Macrolane&Trade;?

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  • Written By: Theresa Waldron
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Macrolane™ is a special filler gel that is injected into an area of the body, such as the breasts or buttocks, to make it larger or to improve its appearance. The filler gel is a non-invasive alternative to traditional plastic surgery. Although Macrolane™ treatment is generally considered safe, some scientific studies have reported complications, such as infection and the hardening of tissue in women who have undergone breast augmentation. The treatment is widely available throughout Europe.

A physician performs Macrolane™ injections on patients who wish to make their breasts or other areas of their bodies more contoured and firm. The procedure can also make areas such as the breasts larger, if so desired. The treatment results are not permanent, however, and last only about a year. At that time, a repeat treatment is needed to maintain the best results.

Macrolane™ is made of a gel containing hyaluronic acid. This is a substance that is present naturally in the body's connective tissues, or fibrous groups of cells in the skin, muscles, and nervous system. Hyaluronic acid gives skin elasticity, lubricates the joints and binds large amounts of water, which provides the contouring properties of the treatment.

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Besides breast enhancement, the hyaluronic gel in Macrolane™ is also used as a treatment for wrinkles on the face and neck. It can be used to firm other parts of the body as well, such as the buttocks, and it can help to shape the calf muscles. It is also used to treat sunken areas of the body, called concavities, that may occur after liposuction or injury. The gel typically is injected into body tissues under local anesthetic, and it may leave minor scarring.

Studies in Sweden have shown the procedure, when used for breast augmentation, to be relatively successful in terms of patient satisfaction. The study reported that aesthetic improvement was found immediately for 97% of women receiving breast augmentation. At months one and three, 97% reported aesthetic improvement, and 100% were still satisfied after six months. Satisfaction dropped to 76% at month 12, 74% at month 18, and 47% at month 24. These decreases in satisfaction, however, occurred with women who had not had the treatment repeated after one year, which is recommended.

Side effects of Macrolane may include bruising, redness, pain, and swelling. These symptoms usually go away after a few days. Other than incidences of minor scarring, the long-term effects of the procedure have not been established. Some studies have shown complications, particularly with breast augmentation, that include infection and capsular contracture, or hardening of the injected tissue. Studies are ongoing to determine how common severe complications are and if there are any long-term health concerns.

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