If you’re thinking of undergoing injectable filler treatments, you know that they can be quite dangerous. In this article I’m gonna reveal what is the safest way to get injectable dermal fillers.
I’m gonna go over five things that you need to know and you need to make sure occur if you’re gonna undergo injectable filler treatments.
Injectable dermal fillers are the number two most common cosmetic treatment in the United States after Botox.
But did you know that there are certain complications that are associated with injectable fillers?
Injectable fillers can lead to complications like blindness, horrible scarring and even loss of parts of your face. They are very serious treatments that must be taken that way.
So it’s very important that you keep in mind these five suggestions or rules, if you’re gonna undergo these treatments.
Table of Contents
Dermal Filler Safety Measures
5. Use Only a Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Filler
The only injectable fillers that I use in my office are made with hyaluronic acid and they’re typically Restylane and Juvederm products.
This is really important because hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved away and if you develop a complication, there’s a good chance that that can be treated.
On the flip side, there are fillers that are not made of hyaluronic acid, that are permanent or that can last many years. You might think that that’s a good idea for you because you get less injections.
But the problem is if a filler is accidentally injected into a blood vessel, that’s when you can go blind. If that blood vessel is clogged, then any part of the body that that blood vessels supplies could actually die.
That’s what happens when people get horrible scarring from fillers. People have lost parts of their nose, parts of their upper lip.
So definitely stick with a hyaluronic acid filler because it can be reversed if this thing happens to you!
The only caveat to that is we also use Sculptra in my office. I believe Sculptra can be injected very safely. The reason why I think Sculptra is safe is because it’s very dilute. Unlike fillers that are made of calcium hydroxyapatite or any of these other types of more permanent substances, Sculptra is a very fine substance, which I’m not as worried about with clogging blood vessels.
4. Have Hyaluronidase Available
It’s not enough just to undergo injections of a hyaluronic acid filler, like Restylane or Juvederm. In addition you want to make sure your doctor has hyaluronidase available. Hyaluronidase is the substance that melts away the hyaluronic acid filler.
If that doctor is injecting you with Restylan and Juvederm but they don’t have hyaluronidase available and it might take them a few days to get it, that’s not a good thing. You want to make sure that they have it on site, just in case you need it.
3. Don’t Inject the Danger Zone
If you’re thinking of getting injectable fillers in the forehead or in this area that we call the glabella, be very careful. This could be a danger zone and if you have filler inappropriately injected into that area, people have actually gone blind from it.
So be very careful!
Botox is a much better alternative if you don’t like the wrinkles in your forehead or your glabella.
2. Use a Real Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist
Plastic surgery is the Wild West of Medicine and there are good plastic surgeons and dermatologists injecting patients and their nurses who do it safely, but there are also a lot of doctors and non doctors out there injecting patients who are woefully trained at these procedures and don’t know the anatomy.
Make sure that if you’re gonna undergo injections of filler that it’s at the office of a real board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
1. Use a Cannula
The main thing that we worry about with injectable fillers is intravascular injection – accidentally injecting that filler into a blood vessel. That’s what can cause these horrific complications.
One safety mechanism that we can use is a cannula. A cannula is a long blunt needle that is made to prevent its injection into a blood vessel.
It’s not a hundred percent effective. Unfortunately there are some situations where patients have had intravascular injection with the cannula, but we do know that it helps to lower the risk of that happening.
If your doctor can, ask them if they can use a cannula for your injectable dermal fillers because it’s only going to be safer for you.
Dermal Filler Complications
There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you have facial fillers.
I’m gonna give you five things that you have to know if you or a loved one is getting injectable fillers.
These are things that you must know about if you’re gonna have it done or if a loved one is having it done and they may not know the risks.
Injectable fillers are like synthetic skin. We inject it into areas of the face to plump them up. Sometimes we can inject it very deep, right on top of the bone. Let’s say in the chin or in the cheeks. There really isn’t usually much of an issue with stiffness.
But other times we inject this filler more superficially, close to the surface of the skin, like in the lips or in the nasolabial folds and if either too much filler is injected or the wrong filler is injected or maybe it’s just not injected right, you can get areas that feel and look stiff.
You may have seen people when they have dermal filler in the nasolabial folds and they smile and it looks kind of stiff. That’s what I’m talking about.
The other area are the lips and if too much filler is ejected into the lips or if a very thick filler is injected into that soft lip mucosal tissue, it can cause the lips to look stiff.
You have probably seen people in Hollywood who’ve had this look.
There is something that I call the kiss test. What is that?
If you kiss somebody who has filler in their lips and it feels like you’re kissing a spare tire, then that person has failed the kiss test and it’s probably not the best filler for them.
There are lots of fillers out there. Some fillers will create more stiffness than others and that’s something you need to be aware of.
Not surprisingly, fillers can cause lumps.
These lumps can occur anywhere where it is injected and typically it’s because too much filler is injected or it’s injected too close to the surface.
The good thing about developing a lump after filler is sometimes it can be treated very easily, but not always.
3. Trout Pout
What is a trout pout? You may have heard of this term before and this basically applies to when somebody has too much filler in the upper lip and not enough in the lower lip.
The natural lip proportions are the lower lip being approximately 50% thicker than the upper lip. That’s the average out there. There are very few people that naturally have a bigger upper lip than a lower lip.
So when you take somebody who has a natural lip proportions, lower lip being 50% bigger than the upper lip, and you reverse that by injecting too much filler in the upper lip, you get a trout pout. They look like a duck.
This is something that really is a technique issue.
I get a lot of women who come to my office and who say “hey I just want my upper lip injected, leave my lower lip alone,” unless that person has a really thin upper lip and a thick lower lip, that’s probably a bad idea.
It’s very important to keep those natural proportions – lower lip usually 50% bigger than the upper lip. That way you can avoid that trout pout.
2. Lose Parts of Your Face
Now we’re going to get into some scary stuff!
If you have injectable filler and that facial filler is injected accidentally into a blood vessel of your face, then you can literally lose parts of your face. You can have your nose turn black and literally slough off. We call it necrosis.
You can have your nostril turn black and fall off. You can have parts of your lip turn black and fall off. This has happened. It is a horrible complication. It is not common at all but it has happened.
This something you need to be aware of and make sure you choose the right doctor or injector for your treatment and make sure they have certain safeguards in place.
You don’t want to go in and have your lips injected and find out two weeks later that you’re missing a part of your lip because the filler was not injected the right way.
This is the most horrifying of all but you can actually go blind from injectable fillers.
A couple years ago I had a call from an attorney asking me if I would be willing to be an expert witness for a case where a woman had filler injected into her nasal labial folds and went blind from it. This is just not something that you hear every day thank God.
What can happen is due to the anatomy of the upper face, a filler is injected into a part of the upper face, typically around the glabella, which is the area between the eyebrows or in the forehead or even in the nose area, if it’s actually injected into the right blood vessels and if it’s done fairly aggressively, you can actually clot off the artery that leads to the eyeball and people go blind within minutes from this injection.
It is extremely rare, it is very technique dependent and there’s no way to 100% prevent it, but this is something that you have to know about if you have injectable filler.
There are a number of things that you can do to stay safe from having these types of crazy things happen to you, which I talk about in the first part of this article.
Rebecca is a licensed aesthetician and certified laser technician with almost 15 years experience in the dermatology. Her life-long passion is making people look good and happy.