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About Silicone Injections

Silicone is a manmade injectable filler that can be used to augment body parts and to fill wrinkles, facial depressions, and acne scars. When injected into the body, the thick liquid solidifies, becoming rubbery and hard.

Also known as silicone oil, it can hold its form for decades, classifying it as a permanent injectable. Liquid silicone has long been a source of controversy in the world of cosmetic procedures, since it doesn't bear the FDA's approval for use in the skin (it's really intended to fix retinal detachment). Still, doctors can legally use silicone off-label in the skin. (Off-label means using a treatment for a different purpose than what it's approved for.)

Silicone injections have been used as soft tissue fillers since the 1940s. In 1992, liquid silicone was banned by the FDA as a cosmetic solution following a leaky breast implant scare. But the substance was again cleared in 1997 for ophthalmological purposes, and in 2006, it was approved for breast augmentation, provided that the liquid is encased in a protective shell.

The two medical grade forms of liquid silicone are ADATO (or Sil ol 5000) and Silikon 1000, but it's the latter which is preferred for its thinner texture, making it easier to inject under the skin. Silikon 1000 is approved by the FDA for retinal detachment. Another very similar product, called SilSkin, is under review by the FDA as of October 2010. If approved, SilSkin will be officially cleared for the improvement of facial wasting, much like Sculptra.

Silicone injections are accomplished using a 30 mL needle to place 0.01 to 0.02 mL of silicone in intervals of two to four millimeters. These "microdroplets" are meant for portion control. Injecting too much silicone at once can create hard lumps (nodules), so treatments should be spread out every one to two months.

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