Evolence, a facial filler that uses porcine (pig) collagen has been approved by the FDA and will be available later this year to US consumers who feel in need of plumping up. Evolence, which is ultimately owned by Johnson & Johnson, has been available for some time in Canada, Israel, South Korea and Europe.

I was intrigued by the use of pig collagen. My first thought was: why pig? Would this limit Evolence's market to non-Jews and non-Muslims? Then I discovered that the filler was invented by an Israeli company that J&J bought a couple of years ago. So what's so good about pig collagen?

Evolence's collagen is harvested from pig tendons in the US and Australia. The company claims that, structurally, pig collagen is very similar to human skin. This is something that I haven't been able to independently verify (although you will recall that the pigs in Animal Farm did take over the human roles), but pig collagen does seem to be used in medical procedures on humans fairly frequently.

The other reason offered to justify Evolence's superiority over synthetic fillers such as Restylane is that is supposedly more durable. This is because it uses a natural sugar, D-Ribose, to mimic natural collagen by forming cross-links.

As you might expect, I did my best to find dissatisfied recipients of Evolence injections who had reported adverse effects. To be sure, there are a few unhappy people with unwanted lumps and bumps. There are also a fair number of positive testimonials suggesting that, as with most fillers, success is largely based on the skill of the person wielding the needle.