Monday, July 14, 2014

The History of Fillers in Aesthetic Medicine

The History of Fillers in Aesthetic Medicine

The pursuit of beauty and the desire to reverse the effects of aging is thousands of years old but the actual use of injectable devices and solutions has really only been around for the past 100 years. Before the last century, most people wanting to look a bit younger had only creams, lotions and potions to help them restore volume to facial tissues. Of course, this was a never-ending routine of constantly plumping the skin up with externally applied moisture and also drinking lots of water because the injection needles, commonly known as the syringe had not been invented yet.

Paraffin Injections

The syringe, or hollow needle as it was first called, was first invented in 1844 by Irish physician Francis Rynd.  Fourteen years before that a German chemist, baron Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach was researching the medical applications of dry distilled beech-wood tar.  He named this unreactive substance paraffin, from the Latin parum (barely) and affinis (affinity). [1]

The first reported use of paraffin injected into the body for cosmetic purposes was by Robert Gersuny who used liquefied paraffin to inject fluid into the testicles of a patient who had been partially castrated. Paraffin was subsequently used for nasal augmentation and other cosmetic purposes.  Paraffin was unstable and often developed plaques at the injection site.  A famous individual who suffered complications from these injections was the Duchess of Marlborough when the paraffin collected in her chin causing an unattractive appearance.

Over the years vegetable oil, mineral, lanolin and beeswax were used until substances that did not migrate to other places in the body were discovered.

Liquid Silicone

Liquid silicone injects were all the rage in the 1960s. This inert, clear oil substance was easily injected and absorbed into the human body but it also was prone to migraine. This polymer substance was first marketed in the 1940s in Japan and by 1965 Dow Corning invented a purified silicone that could be used for injection.  Unfortunately, the body often had an inflammatory response to the plastic that caused unpleasant symptoms that lasted for years.[2]

Doctors in Europe, Canada, Mexico and in the U.S. still use medical grade silicone injected with micro needles for cosmetic purpose even though in most countries it is now federally banned.

Bovine Collagen

In the late nineties bovine collagen was a widely used filler, including Zyderm1, Zyderm II, Zyplast and Evolence. Evolence, produced by Johnson & Johnson is no longer in use.

These products were quite effective at restoring facial volume in the lips and outline of the face, reducing fine lines and treating nasolabial folds. 

Autologous Solutions

Nowadays we have other ways of safely injecting volume, prompting skin to heal itself by using fluids and materials from the patient’s own body. This is safe and causes minimal risk of plaques, allergic reaction and other problems.  Injectibles from human and other sources have also been purified and refined so that they are tolerated well by patients.

To learn more about injectable fillers, platelet-rich-plasma and other modern injectibles it is suggested that you investigate the Pinewood Institute in Toronto’s course offerings.

For more information about The Pinewood Institute for the Advancement of Natural Medicine courses including course outlines, detailed descriptions of courses and information about upcoming training sessions, please go  You can also send us an email using our email form at or call us at 416-656-8100. If you prefer fax the number is 416-656-8107.

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