What is Vitrase?
Vitrase is a dermal injectable that contains hyaluronidase, a protein enzyme used to break down hyaluronic acid, which is found throughout the human body. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring gelatinous substance found in human tissue, synovial joint fluid, and in areas of the eye. Vitrase, which is a proprietary formula of highly purified ovine hyaluronidase, is used to treat and resolve a variety of conditions by causing the beneficial breakdown of hyaluronic acid at specific locations.
What areas of the body does Vitrase treat?
Vitrase currently has several applications. It was first released for use in aiding the absorption of subcutaneous injections, and to increase the visibility of contrast dyes in certain types of scans or x-rays. It was also found to be effective in some ophthalmic applications for treatment of vitreous hemorrhage. Additionally, because of its enzymatic reaction with hyaluronic acid, it can be used to correct the effects of cosmetic hyaluronic-acid filler injections such as Prevelle Silk, Restylane or Juvederm, which are used to treat facial wrinkles.
Who is a candidate for Vitrase?
All of the above-referenced medical applications may be enhanced by the use of Vitrase. In terms of its cosmetic application, Vitrase may be indicated if previous hyaluronic acid injections used to smooth out bags or wrinkles have produced an unfavorable result the patient is unhappy with. Vitrase can be injected to remove just uneven bumps or lumps, or it can be injected to reverse the effects of the entire procedure. Anyone who is unhappy with the look of his or her cosmetic filler procedure would be considered a candidate for correction with Vitrase.
How does Vitrase work?
Vitrase breaks down hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid cosmetic fillers are hydrolyzed quickly, often within minutes or hours, by injections of Vitrase. If the first injection does not produce the desired results, the shot can be repeated to achieve more complete resolution. Most doctors recommend a week or so between subsequent injections.
How is treatment with Vitrase performed?
Vitrase is administered as a shot under the skin. It is introduced to a specific area in much the same manner as the original hyaluronic acid fillers were injected. It is virtually the same medical office procedure with the only difference being the injectable itself.
What is the recovery like?
Recovery time is minimal. The procedure and recovery are virtually the same as they were for the original cosmetic filler injection. There is virtually no down time with either procedure. There may be some temporary, minor tenderness, swelling or redness at the injection site but any residual discomfort should be minor, if any is noticed at all.
What will the results be like?
You should know relatively quickly what results you will achieve after an injection of Vitrase. The hydrolysis or breaking down of the filler tissue starts immediately and is readily visible. Your doctor may recommend repeated injections for further correction.
What are the risks?
To avoid an allergic reaction, your doctor may perform a skin test to check for sensitivity to hyaluronidase before treatment. You should inform your doctor of any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, or herbs you may be taking or begin taking as there are some that interact poorly with Vitrase. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing before starting treatment with Vitrase. It is not known if Vitrase passes into breast milk or what effect it may have on an unborn child. Safety precautions and drug interaction lists are updated regularly, so it is important to communicate regularly with your health care professional regarding your treatment with Vitrase.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By Dermanetwork.org Staff
Updated: November 16, 2009