In today’s high-definition society, facial injectables are a widely accepted method of erasing wrinkles. In the past few years, injectables including Botox® or fillers like Juvederm® and Restylane® have worked their magic to help make people look refreshed and younger without going under the knife.
Unfortunately, as with any medical procedure there are risks. Certain cases of over-filling or overenthusiastic work can lead to “pillow face,” an excessive volumization of the cheeks. The most important thing to remember is to do research before having injections.
In addition to over-filling, there is also a renewed concern about blindness or other visual compromise following injections around the eyes. This is because some of the arteries in the eyebrow area and at the side of the nose (near the corner of the eye) are linked to the vessels around the eyeball and the retinal artery. Forceful, intravascular injections in these areas could send emboli of the material into these arteries and compromise circulation to the eye or retina. This is, thank goodness, very rare, but is a strong example of why patients must use discretion before booking any surgical or cosmetic procedure.
The most widely used fillers are Hyaluronic Acid based compounds including, Juvederm and Restylane. The best way to correct a Hyaluronic Acid based filler is to break down the filler with a common enzyme called Hyaluronidase. Bumps, lumps or an area that looks too full can be easily amended using Hyaluronidase, which dissolves all of the filler in the affected area to combat the negative effects.
Non-Hyaluronic Acid fillers include Radiesse, Artefill, Evolence and Sculptra. These are typically used for deeper treatments under thicker areas of skin including the nasolabial (laugh lines) or scar tissue. Because of their base, they cannot be dissolved with Hyaluronidase treatments. Instead, lumps and bumps as a result of Non-Hyaluronic Acid fillers are typically treated with warm compresses and massage as most irregularities will resolve with time. In cases where the irregularities are not going away naturally, injectable steroid treatments or even surgical excision may be necessary.
However, almost all of the mistakes made from injectables can be avoided if patients go to well respected, talented and precise doctors. Always make sure the doctor delivering the injectables is a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Further, patients should never go to a salon or med spa that is not immediately supervised by a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist on-site. Without the proper training and education, the specialist may not fully understand the differences between the types of injectables and their specific uses.
Procedures involving facial fillers should be completed with both medical discretion and an artistic hand. When filling the face, surgeons should balance the entire face so it appears both natural and youthful.