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First-Ever Standardized Scales to Measure the Skin's Aging Process Are Introduced at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's Annual Meeting

The Merz Scales(TM) are the most comprehensive rating system to be developed in the field of aesthetic dermatology in more than 34 years

LAS VEGAS, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Merz Scales, the first standardized, comprehensive rating system to measure the skin's aging process, were introduced today to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at its annual meeting in Las Vegas. Developed by a leading team of multidisciplinary experts to "establish a universal language of aging," The Merz Scales address the unmet need for an educational tool to facilitate communication between physicians and patients. While the scales do not diagnose or treat any particular conditions, they serve as a platform to discuss the aging process.

"The appearance of aging skin is an area of concern for most everyone. Changes in the anatomy of the skin are the most telltale signs of the aging process," said Corey Maas, MD, a Merz Scales' investigator. "Until now, there were no validated standards for objectively measuring the effects of aging on skin. The Merz Scales provide a common language for both patients and physicians to assess the skin's aging process."

The Merz Scales, including A Validated Brow Positioning Grading Scale; A Validated Grading Scale for Forehead Lines; A Validated Lip Fullness Grading Scale; A Validated Grading Scale for Marionette Lines; A Validated Hand Grading Scale; and, A Validated Grading Scale for Crow's Feet, were published in a special issue of Dermatologic Surgery in November 2008. The Merz Scales will be on display at the Scientific Exhibit Viewing Station at the ASAPS annual meeting Saturday, May 2 through Thursday, May 7.

Other scales being developed by Merz Pharmaceuticals include measures for glabellar lines, nasolabial folds, decolletage, and facial volume loss.

About The Merz Scales

A total of nine experts from around the world trained in multiple specialties (including dermatology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and dermatologic surgery) came together to create and validate a comprehensive scale system, reviewing and including photographs of men and women of diverse ages, skin types and ethnicities. As part of this process, the experts rated 35 to 50 real-life images of people, and evaluated the images for reproducibility of results.

The Merz Scales were then generated as five-point scales using computer-morphed photography. Specific anatomical changes related to aging were identified and were incorporated into the photographs, and a series of visual guides were developed to correspond to regional areas on the face and hands. When "lines" were formed as a result of the different movements of different muscle groups, such as crow's feet and forehead lines, static and dynamic lines were included. For example, The Forehead Lines Grading Scale was developed to objectively quantify resting (static) and hyperkinetic (dynamic) forehead lines. The scale ratings are 0 for no wrinkles, 1 for no wrinkles present at rest but fine lines with facial expressions, 2 for fine wrinkles present at rest and deep lines with facial expression, 3 for fine wrinkles present at rest and deeper lines with facial expression and 4 for deeper wrinkles at rest and deeper furrows with facial expression.

Every participant graded the scales twice, with an overnight break in between. Intra and interrater variability analysis was performed. The variability analysis also was depicted in a bubble plot, which is an informative way of comparing grading between raters.

About Merz

Merz Pharmaceuticals, part of the Merz group of companies based in Frankfurt Germany, has a 100-year history of compassion and innovation in healthcare. The ongoing development of The Merz Scales represents the company's ongoing, deep commitment to education and research in health and beauty.

Merz plans to bring its commercially successful line of injectable HA (hyaluronic acid) dermal fillers, called Belotero(R) to the U.S. once approved for marketing by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Belotero products are manufactured using a unique production process called Cohesive Polydensified Matrix (CPM) technology. As such, Belotero is the world's first cohesive polydensified monophasic dermal filler. Merz hopes to introduce Belotero dermal fillers to the U.S. market, pending completion of clinical trials and following approval by the FDA.

SOURCE Merz Pharmaceuticals
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