Can You Get a Emboli from Lip Augmentation with a Hyaluronic Acid? (photo)

If you are injecting a hyaluronic acid into the lips for plumping purposes, can it get into a vein and travel to your lungs or brain? I know that it is a horrible thought, so can you ease my mind?

Doctor Answers (6)

Simple injection technique takes the worry out of fillers being injected into a blood vessel


Cosmetic physicians are all aware of injection risks (or certainly should be!) and it is standard practice to pull back on a syringe before injecting to be sure the needle is not in a blood vessel. If any blood is drawn into the syringe, then the needle is placed elsewhere and another "check" is made. Only when there is no chance of the needle being in a vessel is filler product injected.

With the adaptation of smooth tipped micro-cannulas for most fillers, the incidence even for bruising - in which a small vessel is sometimes nicked during injection - has been dramatically reduced.

It's still a smart idea to stick with physicians who are very adept at using fillers and know the facial anatomy well.

Los Angeles Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Filler complications


Distant emboli to heart and lungs are not encountered, and even if a small fragment of filler can theoretically get there, it is not going to cause problems in large caliber vessels.  However, local emboli have been described, which may potentially cause local tissue necrosis and even blindness if they involve an artery of the eye.

Alexander Ovchinsky, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Injection of fillers and emboli


Injection of fillers in general is safe, but it can in extremely rare cases get injected accidentally into an artery or vein and cause local tissue death.  I have not heard of emboli to the heart or lungs, but I have heard of blindness when injected into the upper facial region.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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Accidental injection of fillers into the face veins and arteries is possible . the blockage of the vein or artery is localized and can be severe complication including blindness.

That is why experience counts. and using BLUNT CANNULA for injecting fillers is very important to prevent piercing of the vessels

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Emboli from filler

Complications from fillers can range from none to severe. Experienced physicians should be able to avoid these complications. Ones with a profound understanding of the anatomy will give you the best chance for success with minimal risk of complications.

Shawn Allen, MD
Boulder Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review



Embolization of the heart or lungs from an injection to the lips is virtually Impossible.  Instead we worry more about embolization of an artery of the lip.   A worst case scenario would be loss of soft tissue in the area of the injection although the chances of this occurring in the hands of an experienced injector are very low.  Early recognition is the key as evidenced by blanching of the area and extreme swelling and then the development of a dusky coloration of the affected area.  This should be reported immediately to your doctor !

S. Randolph Waldman, MD
Lexington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.