How to Choose an Injector

Injectable treatments like fillers and botulinum toxins (Botox) are just as risky as surgical procedures. Many people make the mistake of downplaying the risks because injections are nonsurgical procedures that do not require anesthesia, a hospital setting or incisions.

In the right hands, there are very few complications and almost immediate results. However, in the wrong hands, you may be injected with a substance that is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or be injected incorrectly resulting in negative results. Choosing the right injector is the most important decision you will make about injectable beauty treatments of any kind.

The Injectable Safety Planning Guide [PDF] will help you plan your procedure and make sure you have chosen a qualified injector. Use it at home before your consultation, bring it with you to the consultation or save it as a quick reference for your next injectable appointment.

Top Ten Qualities to look for in an Injector

Malls, homes, and parties are not safe professional environments for injectable treatments. Here are the Top Ten Qualities your injector should have:

  1. On-site Physician
  2. Injector Qualifications
  3. Full Disclosure of Risks and Benefits
  4. Facility Accreditation
  5. Professional Memberships
  6. Reliable References
  7. Thoroughness
  8. Rapport
  9. Follow-up Care
  10. Reasonable Cost
On-site Physician
Every state has different regulations on who is allowed to inject a filler or neurotoxin for cosmetic purposes; however, Smart Beauty Guide recommends the strictest standards for your safety. Regardless of who is doing the injection, a board-certified physician should be present on-site for the consultation and for any complications that may arise. This physician could be a board-certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, ophthalmic plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.
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Injector Qualifications
Your injector can be a board-certified physician (see on-site physician above), a licensed Registered Nurse (RN), or a Physician’s Assistant (PA) that works closely with the supervising physician. He or she should be experienced with injections and can explain the procedure to you easily, answer your questions and follow all the proper protocols including informed consent about the risks and benefits of the injection process. The RN, PA or physician injecting should have recent continuing medical education (CME) to keep up-to-date on techniques and should be injecting patients on a regular basis (several patients weekly).
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Full Disclosure of Risks and Benefits
The best way to avoid a complication from an injection is to make sure your injector is qualified and that you disclose your full medical history to your injector. Make sure you know the brand name of the injectable and whether it is FDA-approved before your injection. Ask to see the packaging if it is not obvious and find out what the possible side-effects or risks are involved. Your injector should also be able to instruct you on how to limit these risks and what kind of results you should expect. All post-injection instructions should be followed as closely as possible.
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Facility Accreditation
Injections can occur in a medical office or medical spa where the physician is on-site. These facilities should have proper licensing for each state’s regulations and be clean and professional. Hotel rooms and nail salons are not appropriate places for cosmetic medicine or injectables of any kind.
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Professional Memberships
Being a member of a national or local society or association means that your injector has had significant experience in his/her field, stays up-to-date with the latest techniques, and associates with like-minded professionals. Your physician injector might be a member of ASAPS, AAFPRS, ASOPRS, ASPS, or ASDS. Your RN or PA may be a member of SPSSCS, ASPSN, or AAPSA respectively.
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Reliable References
A friend or family member may have referred you, but if not, your injector should be able to show you testimonials from other patients. This could be in the form of written reviews, online reviews or even a video testimonial. Many injectors should be able to show you before and after photos of a similar procedure and the results they achieved. Verifying board-certification of the on-site physician should also be a top priority before your procedure.
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There is a protocol for every injectable and while each may differ from one another, they should all follow a similar format. Forms regarding consent, HIPAA, medical history, and your pre- and post-injection instructions should be given and filled out. The injector should be able to clearly tell you what to expect and how to prepare for the injection (whether you need numbing cream or additional medication beforehand). The site of injection should be cleaned and prepped with post-injection instructions at the ready.
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Like any other doctor or medical professional, it is important that you can communicate clearly and easily with your injector. If you can openly talk to your injector, there is a higher chance you will have the results you are looking for and achieve satisfaction with the procedure. Because most injectables require regular maintenance and injections, the “right” injector for you should not only be qualified, but should put you at ease and make the experience as pleasant as possible.
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Follow-up Care
Most injectables are low-risk and take a few days to see the full effects. Swelling, redness and bruising may occur directly afterwards. A good injector is available for questions or concerns after the procedure. If there is anything out of the ordinary, you should be able to contact your injector and schedule a follow-up. Creating a consistent schedule for your injections is also normal for procedures that require multiple injections at specific intervals.
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Reasonable Cost
National averages for surgeons’ fees can be found here. Keep in mind that costs may vary considerably depending on geographic region, surgeon experience and individual patient factors. Not all patients can be treated with the same technique, and the complexity and areas of injection affect cost. Patients should note that cosmetic medicine is not usually covered by insurance.
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