An Artist’s Touch
Dr. Marlene Mash, a leader in cosmetic and medical dermatology, is one of only a handful of local surgeons to offer a long-lasting cosmetic filler known as ArteFill
by Amanda Hamm Hengel

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 13 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States last year. These minimally invasive procedures generally have quicker recovery times and cost less than traditional surgery, and as the 2012 figure represents a 137 percent increase in procedures from 2000, it’s obvious more and more people are turning to them as an easier way to change the way they look and feel.

Marlene J. Mash, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and dermasurgeon based in Plymouth Meeting, has been performing these minimally invasive cosmetic procedures for more than 20 years. In addition to treating patients with general dermatology concerns—skin lesions, acne and various types of skin cancer, for example—she also provides liposuction, sclerotherapy (blood vessel treatment), blepharoplasty (plastic surgery of the eyelids) and therapy for hyperhidrosis (abnormally profuse sweating).

As one of the area’s leaders in cosmetic and medical dermatology, Dr. Mash has experience with a number of options when it comes to addressing wrinkles and lines on the face, but the one she says offers the greatest benefit is a filler called ArteFill. She has worked with the product for approximately 10 years, and says it is a great option for patients who may be looking for a longer-lasting filler option.

“All of my patients would like something that lasts much longer than most of the fillers that are out there,” she says. “Most fillers don’t last long, and people are getting injections every six months to a year. As a result, some people get needle fatigue. With ArteFill, we can’t say it’s permanent, but it’s longer lasting, and they don’t have to do it every year.”

ArteFill, which is made up of microscopic spheres filled with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and wrapped in bovine collagen, is the first nonresorbable filler approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, according to Dr. Mash. She says it is deposited the same way any other filler is, but unlike the others it stimulates the body to produce its own collagen. “It has a dual effect in that in the beginning it acts like a wonderful filler, but after the bovine collagen is absorbed by the body, you still have the spheres that stimulate collagen growth,” she says.

Dr. Mash has performed thousands of procedures with ArteFill, and she is one of the few surgeons in the area to do so. She says due to its long-lasting effects, providers are often reluctant to utilize it because the procedure is difficult to reverse if a patient doesn’t like the results. “There is not much room for error,” she says. “Unlike the others, where, if there is a mistake or the patient doesn’t like it, there are reversals, or enzymes you can you can insert to fix it, ArteFill is difficult to reverse. But it is a wonderful filler, and if you do it right, there’s no need to reverse it. I haven’t had to do any reversals.”

The cost of ArteFill may also be a deterrent initially, Dr. Mash says, but its longer-lasting effects mean fewer trips to the doctor, as well as fewer injections, so the cost is justified. “It doesn’t take as many treatments to get to your desired goal,” she says. “You don’t have to come back every month or two. Once you fill in, which may take about three or four syringes, you come back in a month and finish what you need. There’s also usually no downtime, and you see immediate results.” Dr. Mash also notes her office offers financing and payment plans for patients who may be interested in the procedure but are worried about the cost.

“ArteFill is the best bang for your buck,” she adds. “If you see how much you would pay every six months to a year for any filler other than ArteFill, you see it’s a savings. You may have to make a little investment up front, but it’s worth it.”

Marlene J. Mash, M.D., & Associates
General and Cosmetic Integrative Dermatology
545 W. Germantown Pike, Suite 100
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
484-351-8268 |

Photography by Jody Robinson