Are Facial Fillers Safe and Effective for You?

Dermal fillers are a popular and cost-effective alternative to facial rejuvenation treatments without surgery. When injected, these substances can help to fill thin lips, improve superficial contours, smooth facial folds and wrinkles, improve the appearance of sunken scars, and diminish the shadow of the lower eyelids. However, dermal fillers are not for everyone. Dermal fillers may not be appropriate for people with certain conditions, such as bleeding disorders or certain allergies. If your healthcare provider confirms that dermal fillers are an option for you, know that all medical products have benefits and risks.

The FDA advises you to work with a licensed healthcare provider who has experience injecting dermal fillers, knows about fillers, anatomy, handling complications, and most importantly, tells you about the risks and benefits before receiving treatment. It probably goes without saying, but safety should be your top priority when considering any medical procedure. Kim says that visiting a board-certified dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon is one way to make sure your doctor is experienced. This additional certification step demonstrates that the doctor completed additional training in his particular specialty. You can find a board-certified specialist by visiting the websites of The American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Academy of Dermatology. There are risks of problems such as infection, discoloration and lumps if the injections are done incorrectly.

In general, they are safe, says Paskhover. However, there may be complications when they are used, especially if someone is not trained for it. Most problems are not life-threatening, but in some cases, fillers have been linked to strokes and blindness. A licensed healthcare professional must perform all dermal filler procedures using only FDA-approved fillers injected with a syringe. The researchers also analyzed data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons on the total projected number of filler injections performed during that time, and analyzed court and litigation records related to fillers in the Westlaw Next database. In addition to skin tightening, excessive use of fillers can lead to longer-term damage, including lip wrinkles and altered attachment of facial fat pads and some degree of irregularity and aging of the skin.

See FDA's Tips for Using Dermal Fillers Safely and Learn the Difference Between Dermal Fillers and Botulinum Toxin Injectable Products. Lately we have heard horror stories; inexperienced practitioners using unregulated fillers that cause frostbite of the face, numbness, blindness (globally, about 50 cases of blindness have been reported after cosmetic facial injection) and even death. The cost of dermal filler treatments varies and depends on the provider performing them, the area being treated, and the type of filler selected.

Shelly Hongach
Shelly Hongach

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