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Clinical value of high-resolution (5–17 MHz) echo-color Doppler (ECD) for identifying filling materials and assessment of damage or complications in aesthetic medicine/surgery

  • Scotto di Santolo, Maria1
  • Massimo, Candida1
  • Tortora, Giovanni2
  • Romeo, Valeria1
  • Amitrano, Michele1
  • Brunetti, Arturo1
  • Imbriaco, Massimo1
  • 1 University of Naples Federico II, Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, Via Pansini 5, Naples, Italy , Naples (Italy)
  • 2 AOS dei colli Monaldi- Cotugno–CTO, Department Radiology, Via L. Bianchi, Naples, Italy , Naples (Italy)
Published Article
La radiologia medica
Springer Milan
Publication Date
Jan 05, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s11547-018-0969-1
Springer Nature


PurposeThe purpose of this retrospective study is to evaluate the role of echo-color-Doppler (ECD) imaging in identifying a series of characteristics pursuant to aesthetic filling material such as their degree of absorbability and their potential complications which include their propensity to stimulate the formation of encapsulated foreign-body granulomas. In the latter case, ECD can be of aid by giving indication for surgical therapy.Materials and MethodsOver a 4-year period, we studied 180 patients (60 ♂) who underwent an aesthetic medical/surgical treatment. We used ECD to evaluate the implant material, its thickness, the injection site, the integrity of dermal layers and the presence of any associated complications.ResultsIn 97% (174/180) of our patients, we were able to identify the type of material used; furthermore, 57% of patients had a hyaluronic acid implant, 14% a lipofilling and 29% a non-absorbable filler (with 10% of silicone). In 6/180 (3%), we could not recognize the material used; 89% (161/180) of our patients presented post-injection complications; moreover, 67% showed peri-implant dermal–hypodermal thickening areas with adjacent lymphostasis, 6% displayed an abnormal implant site, and 17% showed inflammation with encapsulated foreign-body granulomas that required subsequent surgical excision. Biopsy samples were obtained from 37/180 patients (21%); among these, 31 patients had an ECD evidence of granuloma and on 6 patients we were not able to define the injected material. Histopathological examination identified 29 granulomas, 5 sterile abscesses and 3 chronic inflammations in the absence of granuloma. ECD showed an overall 78% diagnostic accuracy, with 90% sensitivity and 37% specificity in detecting filler granulomas.ConclusionECD is a low-cost technique that allows to identify filling materials and to assess the complications of an esthetic medical/surgical treatment.

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