A new face lifting technique that claims to restore the volume loss in the face that is caused by aging has received a U.S. patent – U.S. Patent No. 8,240,314, which issued on August 14, 2012 after initially being filed on April 6, 2010. The ArqueDerma Artistic Restoration Lift technique was invented by Leslie Fletcher of the InjectAbility® Institute. The process is unique because it attacks volume loss in a different way compared with conventional techniques. The Fletcher process is desirable because of its long lasting, natural effects and because it can be administered by nurses and other medical professionals without the assistance of physicians.
Fletcher realized that the previous methods of filling the dermis in the face did not last long, and that many of the patients had enough volume, just in the wrong place. She stated that: “Before ArqueDerma, many of my patients thought their only option for lifting sagging skin was a facelift. They’d come in, lift parts of their face up in the mirror and say ‘This is what I want, I think I need fillers.’ The truth was that many of them had enough facial volume, it was just in the wrong place, which is what inspired me to create this technique that would redirect their own tissue where they needed it most. That way they would end up looking like themselves, only better, not an overstuffed version of themselves.”
What exactly does the ArqueDerma technique do? Fletcher says that it helps restore the volume in aging skin by using thin strands of hyaluronic acid fillers that are placed strategically in the face to create a lifted effect of the skin. It is supposedly long-lasting, or at least longer than other filler procedures because of the increase in collagen, and the results can last anywhere between 18-24 months. Also, because the procedure uses the patient’s own facial volume to fill in other areas, it is less costly for practitioners, and in turn, patients.
According to the patent, ArqueDerma is related to the aching technique specifically for injecting facial fillers into the skin of a patient. The Background of the patent explains: “Facial lifts or treatments are a relatively recent phenomenon. Such techniques or treatments are often used in cosmetic procedures to decrease wrinkles and the appearance of aging. As can be appreciated, a variety of techniques have been marketed and implemented to treat the appearance of aging.” As the Background goes on to explain, the problem Fletcher was trying to solve was that these other, conventional processes “tend to be less permanent as the filler is absorbed by the body and needs replacement.”
For this reason, Fletcher says that there is a need for a technique that will lift the patient’s skin to provide a more lasting effect. While considering that other filler techniques failed to keep the skin plump, Fletcher suddenly realized that by providing supportive columns under the collapsed skin she could make the procedure last longer. She came up with a way to arc the skin and place the injection underneath to create that column.
The ArqueDerma is a procedure, which is covered in the ‘314 patent, injects fillers using a technique that arcs the skin. It is revolutionary in that the syringe needle contains the patient’s own facial dermis. The needle is inserted about one centimeter past the patient’s skin at a strategic point in the face. The practitioner applies a little pressure, which causes the needle to arc and create a pocket in the dermis. The needle gets into the subepidermal plane, where the little grooves and depressions in the face are formed. The filler is then released into the skin while still applying pressure, and slowly withdrawing the needle to fill the dermis. This method is supposed to raise the patient’s facial pocket by creating a support pillar for the skin, and filling in the wrinkles and folds.
Of course, the claims to the patent are what matters with respect to the exclusive rights actually obtained. The ‘314 patent contains the 5 claims set forth below:
1. A method for injecting fillers into the dermis, comprising acts of: injecting a needle of a syringe filled with a filler into a patient’s facial dermis at an insertion point; applying pressure to the needle to cause it to arc within the dermis and create pockets in the dermis; releasing the filler into the dermis while simultaneously applying pressure to the needle and withdrawing the needle from the patient’s dermis, thereby positioning a filler within the patient’s dermis to raise a facial depression.
2. The method as set forth in claim 1, wherein the insertion point is approximately one centimeter lateral and one centimeter superior to a fold that is associated with the facial depression.
3. The method as set forth in claim 2, wherein the needle is injected into the dermis until it is approximately one half a centimeter past the fold.
4. The method as set forth in claim 3, wherein in releasing filler into the dermis, pressure is applied to the needle and the needle is withdrawn such that as the needle exits the patient, the needle is at an angle with respect to the patient in a range of 60 to 75 degrees.
5. The method as set forth in claim 4, wherein in applying pressure to the needle to cause it to arc within the dermis and create pockets in the dermis, the dermis includes fibroblasts which are intentionally stretched through creating pockets in the dermis, thereby stimulating the fibroblasts to synthesize type 1 collagen and support the facial depression.
In a section labeled “Conclusion” at the end of the patent Specification it is explained that ‘[t]he outcome of this ‘tissue engineering’” increase “clinical persistence (or longevity) of the dermal fillers, when compared to traditional methods of filling.”
According to Leslie Fletcher, RN, MEP-C and creator of the ArqueDerma technique, injectables used for aesthetic purposes are gaining popularity mostly due to the large number of clinics now offering these procedures. As of the current date, Fletcher used her technique on over 1,000 patients. She has also trained over 3,000 physicians, assistants and nurses on dermal filler techniques.
With the growing number of people seeking injectable dermal fillers, there has been a rise in research surrounding new and superior techniques for these injections. In the past, this type of procedure was done solely by plastic surgeons and dermatologists, but currently the increase in demand has led to more non-physicians administering these injections to patients.
Dr. Michael Newman, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon stated, “The demand for injectable procedures required physicians to find a way to handle overflow and many, as I did, looked to our skilled and trusted nurses rather than outside the practice. I have watched Leslie develop the ArqueDerma technique for years, and have found it to be an excellent way to treat patients with displaced volume who are not desiring a face lift.”