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Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Dec;55(11):1568-74. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis745. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Infectious complications of Bio-Alcamid filler used for HIV-related facial lipoatrophy.

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University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related facial lipoatrophy is a devastating adverse effect of antiretroviral therapy. At this time, the most viable treatment option is cosmetic surgery with synthetic fillers. Bio-Alcamid has many advantages over other fillers, and has become widely used. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence rate of infectious complications associated with Bio-Alcamid facial filler in patients with HIV-related facial lipoatrophy (FLA).


This retrospective study identified patients who had received treatment with Bio-Alcamid, and reviewed their long-term outcomes.


Two hundred sixty-seven patients with Bio-Alcamid were reviewed. Infectious complications were documented in 56 (19%) patients. The incidence rate of infection was 0.07 per patient-year of follow-up. Among patients with infections, the median time from first Bio-Alcamid treatment to infection was 32 months (interquartile range, 21-42). We did not find an association between the development of infection and the level of immune suppression by HIV. Surgical drainage in addition to antibiotics was required for the majority of patients. Potential risk factors for infection include severity of FLA and a preceding history of facial manipulation, including Bio-Alcamid touch-up treatments, cosmetic surgery, facial trauma, and dental work.


Bio-Alcamid treatment of HIV-related FLA was associated with a high rate of infectious complications, often presenting years after treatment. Antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered in patients with Bio-Alcamid prior to dental work or facial manipulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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