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Collagen Injections, Face Lifts, and Scleroderma

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Collagen Injections
Collagen Injections and Autoimmune Diseases
Face Lifts and Scleroderma
Scleroderma Lips
As Cause of Autoimmune Diseases
Repair for Linear/Morphea Scleroderma

Overview of Collagen Injections

Patients with certain connective tissue diseases may have an increased risk of severe allergic reactions to collagen injections. These connective tissue diseases include, but are not limited to, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. They also include polymyositis and dermatomyositis (PM/DM), which are chronic, progressive, and sometimes fatal inflammatory disorders.

Thus, collagen injections should be used with caution in people who have had these diseases. Some experts recommend that people who have had these diseases should either not be given collagen injections at all or should be given multiple skin tests before treatment.

Collagen Injections and Autoimmune Diseases

Who should not have collagen injections? "People who have collagen vascular diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, systemic or discoid lupus, polymyonitis and C.R.E.S.T. syndrome should never have collagen injections. Others that are receiving immuno suppressive therapy for cancer and hemophiliacs are also not candidates. Since there is lidocaine in the collagen, people who are allergic to lidocaine are not candidates." Excerpt from expired article by Roger Y. Murray, M.D., The Murray Center.

Are there any other types of reactions I should be aware of? An increased incidence of cell-mediated and humoral immunity to various collagens have been found in systemic connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and progressive systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Patients with these diseases may thus have an increased susceptibility to an allergic response and/or accelerated clearance of their implants when injected with bovine dermal collagen preparations. If you have any of these diseases, you should discuss this specifically with your doctor. Excerpt from expired article. Myron M. Persoff, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Face Lifts and Scleroderma

Avoid face-lifts if you have lupus or scleroderma - autoimmune diseases - which affect your face. Lupus can cause a rash on your face, and scleroderma can cause facial skin to grow hard and thick. If you're taking medications that suppress your immune system for other autoimmune diseases, you may need to avoid surgery, as well, since the drugs can slow your healing process. (Expired article from 08/29/05.)


Scleroderma Lips. Deep lines around the lips worry many scleroderma sufferers but unfortunately collagen injections and laser treatment are not advisable as they may cause scarring. Tightening of the skin of the face may lead to microstomia - a small mouth. Facial and mouth exercises may help. "Disappearing lips" can be a very upsetting cosmetic problem and a reputable plastic surgeon may be able to perform an operation called a mucosal advancement. Royal Free Hospital. (Also see Dental Involvement)

Collagen Injections Causing Connective Tissue Diseases

Some physicians have reported that patients developed PM/DM and other connective tissue diseases after receiving collagen injections even though they never had these diseases before. FDA is investigating whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between having collagen treatments and later developing PM/DM or similar diseases. FDA. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma)

Repair of Linear/Morphea Lesions

Correction of morphea en coup de sabre with hyaluronic acid filler. Wider lesions may require extensive reconstruction with a variety of flaps and/or use of implants or autologous dermal fat or bone transplantation. Because of the invasive nature of these procedures, the use of filler substances has generated interest as a treatment modality. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

(Case Report) Correction of facial linear scleroderma 'coup de sabre' with BoneSource. Surgical outcome was excellent in cosmetic and functional aspects without any complication. PubMed, J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg.

Successful correction of depressed scars of the forehead secondary to trauma and morphea en coup de sabre by en bloc autologous dermal fat graft. This appears to be a safe technique that provides excellent cosmetic results for the correction of small to medium depressed scars of the forehead. PubMed, Dermatol Surg.

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