Antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the survival of HIV-infected children. Nevertheless, side effects comparable to those found in adults have been encountered, such as facial lipoatrophy, which can have a negative impact on the self-esteem of otherwise healthy adolescents. Cosmetic surgical procedures in adolescents raise psychological issues which need to be specifically addressed and which have never been previously reported in this population. We evaluated the patient satisfaction, safety and cosmetic results of HIV-infected adolescents who experienced autologous fat transplants for the correction of facial lipoatrophy.
We report the results of plastic surgery using autologous fat transplants (Coleman's Lipostructure™) in six HIV-infected adolescents with facial lipoatrophy: three boys and three girls, aged 14–19 years.
The quantity of reinjected fat on each side of the face varied from 5 to 12 mL within a single procedure. All the patients reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the cosmetic results and reported a positive impact on their daily life.
With well-trained surgeons and carefully selected indications, corrective surgery of facial lipoatrophy in HIV-infected adolescents can provide immediate and long-lasting benefits in terms of physical appearance and psychological wellbeing, and should be considered as a component of comprehensive care.