Fillers Gone Wrong: What to Know Before The Syringe Touches Your Skin
As fillers like Radiesse, Juvederm, and Restylane grow in popularity, so does the long list of mishaps from poorly-trained professionals— one of the top reasons to see a board-certified plastic surgeon for dermal fillers. Issues range from minor under-treatment to potentially serious life-threatening/altering and often illegal silicone injections.
“The most common issue is under-treatment which results in the patient perceiving the filler to be ineffective,” says Dr. Antonio J Gayoso “Additionally, there are unnatural results related to overfilling of lips or in the cheeks and tear troughs.”
Administering the right ratios of the right fillers is the tip of the iceberg, though.
“The worst problems I've seen with fillers are patients who have had free liquid silicone injections in their breasts. Mostly I have seen this in patients who were treated in Southeast Asia in the distant past. They tend to have lifelong problems with hard lumps and scar tissue which are virtually impossible to correct completely. For this reason, plastic surgeons in general are averse to silicone injections. This silicone problem is pretty infrequent now, but it is being replaced by the modern version of non-pharmaceutical grade fillers that are unlicensed and often administered by those with no medical experience. These are the stories that we have been seeing in the news lately, which consist of all sorts of non-medical materials being injected into people’s buttocks and so forth.”
If you thought over-inflated lips or lumpy breasts might be the worst of it, you’re wrong. It turns out that if fillers are administered in the wrong anatomical spot, entire patches of skin can die off — and that seems like a far bigger problem than sagging or deep jowls.
“This can occur when the filler is inadvertently injected into an artery clogging it up and killing off the skin that received its blood supply from that artery.”
Pretty scary, right? Poor placement of fillers can actually leave you worse off than when you walked in asking for them — both internally and externally. People perceive injectables of all sorts as relatively harmless, but in the wrong hands, the adverse effects can be anything but- all the more reason to see a board-certified plastic surgeon – even for injectables, to ensure that you’re in the most capable hands.
It’s also not unusual to see women asking for cheekbone definition end up with fat faces instead of the chiseled cheeks they sought, and that’s due to injecting the wrong spots. There’s good news, though.
“The hyaluronic acid fillers (like Restylane) can be reversed completely by injecting hyaluronidase, an enzyme that dissolves it. Other fillers like Radiesse cannot be reversed, but are generally recognized to be temporary. Silicone is not easily removed or correctable, and it's permanent.”
Dr. Gayoso cautions patients to seek results that are subtle. Aiming for a dramatic facelift with fillers just isn’t realistic. To maintain results, patients will need a fresh set of injections for touch-ups in about 6 to 24 months. Injectable fillers wear off with time, and each area of your face may have a different ‘shelf life’ so to speak. If you are considering fillers, a good place to search for a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area is the Find a Surgeon tool.