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Dermal Filler Gone Wrong: Correcting and Avoiding Dermal Filler Mishaps

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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When it comes to safe and effective treatments, minimally-invasive dermal fillers are often preferred to facial plastic surgery. However, dermal fillers don’t guarantee that you don’t suffer from adverse effects. And while patients can read about their treatments beforehand, some dermal fillers can still result in adverse effects that persist long after the recovery time..

But why do some dermal fillers still have adverse effects? This is because dermal fillers are foreign substances placed under the skin, which can cause certain bodily reactions in the beginning. And while these are normal and typically resolve after a few weeks, some side effects don’t go away and even worsen over time. The type of dermal filler used, unchecked allergies, and the low skill level of providers are among the reasons that these adverse effects persist.

Risks of Dermal Filler Gone Wrong: How Common Is It?

Dermal fillers are FDA-approved and clinically proven to be safe and effective in eliminating wrinkles, acne scarring, and facial lines. It’s also a versatile facial treatment that can be placed under many target areas – there are lip filler injections, tear trough fillers (i.e, under-eye filler), nose fillers, and chin fillers, among others. These face fillers are made of different kinds of dermal filler substances that are chosen according to what’s best for the patient.

Dermal filler treatment sessions generally don’t involve an immense amount of pain or severe complications. However, some adverse effects that may be experienced by patients still depend on many factors that vary among individuals such as the following:

  • Bodily reaction to the dermal filler substance used
  • Skin reaction to the dermal filler placement
  • Lifestyle factors (e.g, regular exercise, healthy diet, smoking, alcohol intake)
  • Aftercare regimen

It’s possible to experience adverse effects despite how safe or effective some dermal fillers are. But the good thing is that these are also avoidable. It’s important to read as much as you can on dermal fillers before your treatment session, as well as the aftercare practices you must follow to get the best out of your treatments.

Expected Side Effects vs. Serious Adverse Effects

In any cosmetic dermatology treatment, side effects are usually expected because the skin reacts to the substance injected underneath. The following are the side effects that usually occur after the treatment session:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Discoloration
  • Slight pain
  • Itching or rash

In contrast, there are serious complications of dermal fillers that are rare and uncommon but would require intensive treatments or medications to be reversed. Some rare complications that come with getting dermal fillers include:

  • Skin infection
  • Blocked blood vessel
  • Hives or nodules
  • Dermal filler migration
  • Necrosis (i.e, tissue death)
  • Vascular complication (i.e, vascular occlusion)

Allergic reactions may also occur as a result of the body’s reaction to the dermal filler substance or the ingredients it contains (i.e, lidocaine). Going to a licensed injector or aesthetic provider helps to reduce the likelihood of getting serious complications. Make sure to discuss your entire medical history to fill your aesthetic provider in on your allergies, your history of genetic illnesses, and the like.

What Can Go Wrong When You Get Dermal Fillers?

Contrary to popular belief, dermal filler injections don’t lead to skin cancer. There are other things that can go wrong with dermal fillers, but these are usually rare especially if you’re working with a qualified injector/aesthetic provider to administer your treatment. 

1) When you self-administer the fillers

Some people purchase dermal fillers online and plan to inject themselves with them. This is a dangerous thing to do because the skills and knowledge of the injector are crucial to achieving the best results in the treatment.

First, if you don’t undergo proper consultation then you may have serious allergic reactions to the injectable filler treatment. Second, the lack of background on the side effects and how to remediate it can also aggravate our condition. 

2) Low skill level of your provider 

Dermal filler overfilling (i.e, botched fillers) may result from improper techniques or inadequate skill on the provider’s part. It takes a certain skill set for aesthetic injectors to fill the treatment area and make it long-lasting and still suitable to your natural bodily proportions once the swelling eventually subsides. 

But if not done properly, these can lead to lumps, bumps, or unnatural build-up of dermal fillers. In the case of lip filler injection treatments, this can result in overfilled lips to the point of deformation or a busted lip.

3) Bodily reactions

Aside from that, your own bodily reactions can cause dermal fillers to go wrong. For instance, when fillers migrate out of the treatment area and create a distorted version of your face, you may be experiencing filler migration. This usually happens when you use hyaluronic acid filler injections. 

Other kinds of dermal filler substances may not have the dermal filler migration effect, but such fillers are semi-permanent (except for fat injection treatments). So the different sets of serious complications may call for more drastic measures for it to be reversed.

4) No research beforehand and no aftercare regimen

Another critical factor in the results of the dermal filler treatment is a patient’s sufficient knowledge of the preparation and aftercare following the treatment session. There are certain things that must be avoided to reduce the likelihood of serious adverse effects, one of which is blood thinning medications.

Blood thinners may result in uncontrolled or worsening bleeding after the dermal filler treatment. Likewise, alcohol should also be avoided before and after the treatment to reduce the side effect of bruising and swelling that already occurs when you drink alcohol and can be aggravated when you have dermal fillers.

What to Do If Your Dermal Filler Did Not Work

The reversibility of dermal fillers depends on the kind of dermal filler substance administered and the complications that occurred as a result of dermal fillers gone wrong. Hyaluronic acid dermal filler injections are the commonly used dermal filler substance, and these are only temporary so patients can simply wait for it to dissolve on its own or they can opt to use a dissolving agent.

Hyaluronic acid fillers are reversible — you can use hyaluronidase if you want to undo them. This can only be used for hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, while other kinds of dermal fillers may require other methods for removal like certain types of injectable dissolving agents.

Meanwhile, there are also instances when a patient needs to seek immediate medical attention to reduce further escalating into even more serious side effects. If you notice the following symptoms, take yourself to a healthcare provider for immediate medical solutions:

  • Unusual or worsening pain
  • White appearance in the injection areas
  • Vision changes (e.g, blurry vision)
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Weakness of numbness in the filler target area
  • Severe headache or dizziness

When dermal filler mishaps occur, don’t self-diagnose and self-medicate. It’s best to consult your aesthetic provider for the best solutions on how to reverse and resolve dermal filler complications.

How to Avoid Bad Dermal Filler Results

Dermal fillers have fewer risks and complications that might come with them than their traditional cosmetic alternatives like invasive surgery. Although possible, bad dermal filler results are rare and are avoidable most of the time. To avoid dermal filler mishaps, it’s best to take note of the following:

  • Pre-treatment instructions to avoid dermal filler fails 
  • Aftercare tips to get the best dermal filler results
  • Expert aesthetic injectors to administer your treatments

Pre-Treatment Instructions to Avoid Dermal Filler Fails 

Before the treatment, a consultation with an aesthetic injector will take place to evaluate the eligibility of the patient for the dermal filler treatment option. Sometimes to achieve the best results, complementary treatments are required. The preference of the patient to have additional topical anesthetic applied will also be discussed along with the following instructions before the dermal filler treatment procedure:

  • Stay away from alcohol for at least 48 hours the dermal filler treatment session
  • Stay away from blood thinning supplements and medication before the dermal filler treatment, as directed by your plastic surgeon
  • Hydrate as much as you can before the treatment session
  • Remove makeup before the dermal filler treatment
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours before the dermal filler treatment session

The pre-treatment care that may be required by your aesthetic provider can go beyond the ones mentioned above. Take note of the pre-treatment care instructions given by your plastic surgeon and make sure to follow those as well.

Aftercare Tips to Get The Best Dermal Filler Results

Dermal fillers are temporary and side effects are common, but you can enhance the longevity of your dermal fillers and shorten your recovery period. It’s ideal to take note of the aftercare instructions following your treatment session, which include:

  • Avoid putting pressure on your face
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Sleep on your back
  • Wait for 24 hours before you put makeup on
  • Still stay away from alcohol and blood thinners
  • Don’t expose yourself to extreme cold or heat
  • Quit smoking and keep yourself hydrated

Expert Aesthetic Injectors to Administer Your Treatments

Consulting the right aesthetic provider can help minimize the likelihood of serious adverse effects and shorten a patient’s recovery period from downtime. Aside from that, the initial consultation allows the plastic surgeon to meet your goals better without compromising the quality of your health.

Additionally, it helps to check out testimonials and customer reviews to have a perspective on the expertise and qualifications of the plastic surgeon. Make sure that they know how to work on the different kinds of dermal filler substances.

You can choose among the different dermal filler substances depending on your preferred results and longevity, but the primary determinant of the side effects that you’ll encounter along the way is how well your aesthetic injector has administered the treatment.

Correct Dermal Filler Fails With Expert Dermal Filler Injectors at Ethos Spa

Problems that come with getting dermal fillers are rare, but they’re possible. It’s important to know what to expect after your dermal filler injections for immediate remediation. You can also prepare to further reduce the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects by consulting with a qualified aesthetic provider to ensure that you get the best results out of your dermal filler treatment sessions.

There are instances when basic skincare isn’t enough to achieve your beauty goals, which is why most people turn to aesthetic treatments performed by certified aesthetic professionals. Our mission at Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness is to provide state-of-the-art aesthetic treatments — getting a lip filler, tear trough filler, nose filler, or chin filler has never been easier.

Contact Ethos Spa today and learn more about our filler treatment options.

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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