Researchers at New York City's Montefiore Medical Center report having developed a long-lasting surgical solution to reverse facial wasting in people suffering from HIV lipodystrophy syndrome, a condition in which body fat redistributes itself throughout the body. Many HIV-positive patients taking antiretroviral medications suffer from facial wasting, which causes a gaunt appearance that some say publicly identifies them as carrying the AIDS virus. Montefiore scientists say that their technique of transplanting a graft of the deep layer of skin and its attached fat, called dermafat, can provide a long-term solution to facial wasting. The benefits of the procedure have been shown to last up to 2-1/2 years.
"This new, long-lasting cosmetic surgery is a great boon to the quality of life and self-esteem of patients with HIV, most of whom live long lives today because of improved treatment," said Berish Strauch, director of plastic surgery at Montefiore. Strauch presented the findings of the center's research on Wednesday at the Association of Plastic Surgeons' annual meeting in Baltimore. Follow-up studies are planned.