A Boston University plastic surgeon says researchers have developed a high-protein substance from cattle hide which, when injected into wrinkled tissue, smooths it out.
Doctors caution, however, it is not a fountain of youth.
‘It’s an excellent compound, but far from a panacea,’ said Dr. Eugene H. Courtiss, associate professor of plastic surgery at Boston University.
The protein substance — milky white and made of a natural protein and 85 percent water — is injected into the skin. The protein substance is called collagen, the main supportive substance of skin, tendon, bone and connective tissue.
Four to six hours after the injection, the water is absorbed, leaving the collagen which is replaced with human tissue in another two weeks.
Doctors say it works well for unwrinkling frown lines between the eyebrows and in the folds running from the nose to the sides of the mouth.
Courtiss says the compound does not prevent wrinkles and does not work well on wrinkles across the forehead, or on the fine lines around the lips.
In some cases, it even works on acne and post acne scars.
‘Collagen will fill out a given wrinkle, but not every wrinkle,’ said Courtiss, one of the product’s original researchers.
He has treated about 100 patients in the last 18 months. Injections can range from $100 to $250 each, depending on the type of wrinkle.
The actual material injected, called ‘Zyderm Collagen Implant,’ is produced by Collagen Corp. of Palo Alto, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration, after tests on 5,000 patients, approved it in July for general use.
Doctors say it feels like natural flesh and does not move about under the skin, and the treatments can be used in about 80 percent of the patients who seek them. Typical treatment involved two to six injections at a doctor’s office.
But before treatment begins, patients are tested for allergic reactions, which doctors say occur in one out of every 1,000 cases.