Why Do Alot of People Say Dermal Fillers Are Dangerous?

Like obviously i have heard they are safe but researching online etc and talking to people alot of people say they are dangerous and really are a gimmick they do not really work? what do you think? i do like the idea of 5 mins going in office and sorting it out but if this is the case i guess implants are safer

Doctor Answers (4)

Risks with filler injections

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Fillers are generally safe and results are good when performed by an experienced practitioner.  But there are some important risks you need to be aware of.  The most serious one is embolism or vascular occlusion caused by a filler which can result in tissue necrosis or death.  Embolism is caused by injection of a foreign substance like filler into a blood vessel which causes a clot to form which can break off and then travel in the bloodstream causing damage. Since this involves the skin (and not an embolism of the lungs or heart), it is unlikely to result in death, but more likely to result in necrosis (due to lack of oxygen to the skin which can result in the tissue dying) and resultant scarring and nerve damage. This is particularly high risk around the eye area because an embolism could result in blindness. This is why nonphysicians and non-core trained specialists are advised to stay away from injecting in these higher risk regions. There are especially rich arcades of blood vessels in the infraorbital region and forehead, glabella and nasal region that are higher risk for embolism.This is something that is discussed amongst physicians at conferences and it is a known complication. Although unlikely to occur in experienced hands, it is a risk that needs to be disclosed and considered. I have done thousands of injections in over 15 years of practice and have never had this occur in a patient, but do know of numerous cases reported. There are many more cases of this occurring with inexperienced and nonphysician or nurse injectors. There is less risk when injecting superficially but greater risk when injecting deep. One of the techniques I use to try to decrease risk of embolism is to inject lidocaine with epinephrine prior to injection of the filler. The epinephrine causes vasoconstriction so that the blood vessels are less open therefore more difficult to inject directly into the vessel accidentally. Fillers like Juvederm and Restylane now contain lidocaine so many practitioners do not inject local anesthesia prior to the filler anymore, and doing the lidocaine with epinephrine prior to filler does have the disadvantage of causing more bruising and swelling and also less precision with correction, but it offers the safety advantage of constricting blood vessels therefore decreasing risk of injecting filler into the blood vessel resulting in embolism.

If vascular occlusion of an artery were to occur with filler injection, it would be essential for the practitioner to be able to recognize the signs and know how to treat appropriately. There are definitive measures that need to be taken immediately to address that which could minimize and prevent any further damage. An experienced practitioner would know how to address these potential complications. Because complications can occur with these seemingly simple procedures, it's important to be in the care of an experienced board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who knows how to treat these complications if they were to occur. The last person you want doing your injection is someone who says they wouldn't know what to do if a vascular event happened. Don't let someone blow you off by saying this is never going to happen, make sure the doctor you are seeing tells you they would know exactly what to do if this happened.


Walnut Creek Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Dermal Fillers Dangerous?

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   Dermal fillers are generally not injected into the glabella due to risks of emboli and skin death.  Dermal fillers to other areas for wrinkle and line management is safe when injected as they were intended.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Are Dermal Fillers Safe?

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Hi Esa.  There are risks and rewards with every medical procedure.  As long as you are fully informed of the risks you should be able to make an educated decision about which products or treatments to use.  

Surgery generally carries more risk than dermal fillers.  Dermal fillers are definitely not a gimmick.  

Unfortunately, many of the consumers that use websites like realself are ones that have had a bad experience so you may get a skewed opinion from the users on sites like this.  Those that have had good experiences are happily returning to their doctor's office for more treatment :).

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Dermal Fillers: Are They Dangerous?

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Dermal fillers are generally very safe, as long as they are injected by one of the 4 core group of specialties that are trained in facial aesthetics: Facial Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, or Occuloplastic Surgeons.  Lack of training and/or experience in Physicians working outside of their scope of practice is more risky, and can be associated with poor results.  In addition, dermal fillers always work if used for the correct application, with appropriate patient expectations, and used in sufficient volume.  If a patient expects to receive a facelift caliber  result from 1 syringe of Restylane, the patient is not likely to be satisfied

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.