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?
Can You Get a Emboli from Lip Augmentation with a Hyaluronic Acid? (photo)
Doctor Answers (7)
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.
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.
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.
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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
Emboli from filler
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 !
Risk of embolism from filler injection
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.
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.