What are some health risks associated with collagen wrinkle fillers?

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Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Collagen is a protein made from cow skin. It is processed, mixed with the anesthetic lidocaine, and made into a paste that is injected into fine wrinkles. As a foreign protein, collagen is attacked and digested by the human body. The body can become confused, making antibodies against the cow collagen and even the body's own collagen. The result may be an autoimmune disease, such as dermatomyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma, in which one's own collagen is attacked.

Collagen lasts between two weeks and six months, after which the injection must be repeated to maintain the effect. Under the microscope, we can see that the body digests the collagen within six months. Allergic reactions may result; therefore, the patient’s skin must be tested prior to the injection. One, or even two, tests are usually performed a month beforehand.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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