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Experienced Delayed Severe Allergic Reaction To Radiesse (Carrier Gel) - Scottsdale, AZ

Radiesse seemed like a great option for me to...

Radiesse seemed like a great option for me to restore lost facial volume in my submalar regions (both sides) where the fat had worn away beneath long-time cheek impacts (terino combined Mediums which I had put in 1998). As one accustomed to numerous procedures over the years with no ill effects (restylane, alloderm grafts, fat grafts, articoll injections in lips, botox, soft form lip implants, blephs, mini facelift, full face CO2, and more), I was looking for something that would fill in the small indents I had quickly with minimal downtime. As a guy in professional management career I just did not want to take a lot of down time this year; planning another mini facelift next year and then do some more fat grafts (which seem to last 4-5 years in me) together with a 2 week extended vacation early next year. Because I'm athletic and active, I just burn through restylane in a month or two. So Radiesse seemed ideal! I went to my board certified plastic surgeon and was injected on 3/19/12 with one 1.5cc syringe radiesse total for both sides. The radiesse was mixed with lidocaine and I was given nerve block shots to both cheeks as well. I went home an hour later with cheeks swollen out looking like, no kidding, I had a golf ball stuffed on/under each cheek. No worries, I knew it was just swelling from all the lidocaine. Unfortunately, it took 48hrs to normalize so I worked from home a couple days. Then things looked fantastic. I was loving the look and crossing fingers I'd get a nice 6 months plus and. hopefully, with touch-up into next year in prep for my bigger procedures. Well suddenly on 3/30/12, 11 days post injection, late in the day my cheeks felt tight and started feeling some slight itchy, crawly sensations. EVerything looked ok, so I shrugged it off and went to bed. Next day, 3/31/12, both cheeks were VERY swollen and hard and reddened in the area of the injections. From there it began spreading over next few days, taking over my entire cheek areas and extending down and back to jawline. It took a couple hours each morning of hot compresses, aspirin, benadryl, clarisoninc massage, etc. to just get some of the hard swelling down and soften the cheek swelling up to more of a water retention look. (e.g. the classic "moon face"). On Monday, 4/2/12 I went back to my doctor but he had never heard of this nor really know what to do for me. He called in the gal in his office that actually does most of the facial filler injections there. She had not really seen it either, although did indicate she had injected her hands a few years ago with Radiesse and about 2 weeks after they swelled up similarly and it took 6 weeks to resolve. At this point, I was taking 2 benadryl every 4 hours round the clock WITH Claritin, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. doing compresses, jogging inside on treadmill to sweat out water, and even started on 4/2/12 with low carb induction to cause my body to massively shed water. Well, none of that helped and it continued to worsen. On 4/4/12 I had to go to the Scottsdale Mayo Clinic for regular eye check-up (suffer from dry eye condition). My opthamologist immediately called in their plastic surgeon team to look at me. They indicated that I was having a severe allergic reaction to the carrier gel and they knew of this reaction from past experience and case histories, regardless of the Radiesse manufacturer denying potential for allergic reactions. They said my case history fit perfectly - typically everything looks good for a couple weeks and then as the body begins to break down the cellulose carrier gel either the gel or a by-product from the breakdown process stimulates a massive allergic reaction that can persist for a few months until the carrier gel is completely dissolved; then things usually settle down as the calcium particles are pretty inert. Although I'm sensitive to corti-steroids, they indicated I need to start a dose pack asap to get this under control. Because of the severity, they went to the strongest steroid they could: dexamethason 5 day custom dosing schedule. They indicated they typically give this to brain/spinal tumor patients, etc that need really strong swelling relief. Although I have no real allergies, I do have sensitivity to steroids, however, they hoped the fast, high dose of steroids would bring relief without significant side effects in me. I've now been on the steroids going into my third day WITH continuing benadryl, ibuprofen, low low carb diet, jogging, etc. I'm also doing hot compresses and 5 min clarisonic per cheek morning and night to try to stimulate circulation in area and help breakdown the carrier gel faster. I will say the swelling is about 60% gone and I can go to work without people giving me weird looks and asking me as they did earlier in week if I had been in a car accident or bad fight. I'm crossing fingers the swelling continues to abate and does not return after I go off the steroids next Monday. I've filed an adverse event report with FDA. My doctor was supposed to inform the manufacturer, Merz, but I plan to call them today and advise of the incident, treatment, and FDA report. So all in all, I obviously would never do radiesse injections again. The product obviously works well in the vast majority of people that are correctly injected. Apparently, true allergic reactions remain pretty uncommon. However, since there is no allergic testing done ahead and given I'm not a person with a history of allergies, I would only suggest modest caution if you are planing to jump in and don't want a lot of down time. Maybe ask for a test injection first in small area to see what happens before going all in. If you are one of the unfortunate ones like me who do develop an allergic reaction to carrier gel, skip all the home remedies and get your doctor to put you on steroids asap. They do seem to work well in arresting the swelling. Because the manufacturer does not indicate any potential for allergic reactions and most doctors injecting have not experienced this in their practice, just be aware you may get some deer in the headlights looks at first with uncertainty what is going on or whether it is related to the radiesse. If you are having delayed massive swelling and redness like I did in the immediate area of the injections, you need to persist with your doctor or get to major teaching hospital/center of excellence like I did with Mayo where their doctors are able to accumulate vastly more knowledge than the typical plastic surgeon or derm and will immediately identify it as an allergic reaction. Good luck to all.

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon

My experience has been my doctor is experienced and talented with a great staff. Obviously, this was an unusual situation and he just did not know what to do. Thought my reaction and the initial itching and skin sensations might be a viral flare up, for example. Only negative I would say is that he really fried to downplay the issue and my distorted look. So I do not in any way blame him for what happened and he did a great job with the injection placement. I'd just appreciate a tad bit more acceptance (and empathy) of my issue and concerns as the John Hopkins plastic surgeons displayed the second they saw me. I plan to continue to use him for my botox treatments and potentially consider for other procedures (with more probing on capacity to empathize and work to correct problems when they arise as I would hate to have a major procedure encounter difficulties and not have a doctor actively trying to make things better).

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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I have had a severe but similar reaction to Radiesse which has continued for over 2 years now. My episodes are less severe now. I have seen 23 doctors and the allergist says it's an immunologic reaction not an allergy. I also filed a Medwatch 3500 form and finally got a call from Merz only after I threatened to sue. Everyone please file the Medwatch form with the FDA. It can be done on line quite quickly. If we do not report it, Merz certainly won't and other people may have the same reaction.
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I have been having the same reaction. I thought I was alone. My face blew up like a balloon two weeks after having radiesse injections in the cheek area. I called the medical spa where I had this procedure done in a panic and they simply stated it could not be the radiesse.. They also told me NOT to call my general practitioner, and that I was just dehydrated. My Dr. Took one look at me and put me on prednisone and zpak. The swelling in my face went down after a week. Here's what I am wondering.. I have been suffering terrible knee pain. I'm a long time gym rat and very athletic, so I assumed it was wear and tear. It has gotten so bad that I could no longer walk, so I went for an x-ray. There's nothing structurally wrong with my knees. Basically I have been doing physical therapy since I got the radiesse, with no improvement. In fact, I am currently being tested for rheumatoid arthritic!!! I am beginning to have extreme swelling around the ankles and calfs that stays pitted. Could it be a reaction to radiesse??!!
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dear viniana 'please have a look at the thread juvederm hospitalized staph infection and see all the comments or go in my profile and see my replies there are many people with autoimmune disease after the treatment even if the connection it is impossible to demonstrate
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dear trikk, radiesse lasts a lot, it is calcium spheres and they are metabolized by the body slowly and it is very different for any person.

If you go on radiesse reviews you will see people solve their problems with radiesse in a couple of years.. so you have to be patient and help yourself with medicines or natural remedies... doctors will nevere tell you the right thing cause they don't know exactly what these substances are made of... just an expert such as chemist or bio chemist... Calcium idroxialapatite is a mineral like a stone and so it is pretty long to break down ... but it does time by time...

don't touch your eyes please, don't have surgery you don't have any guarantee of solution...

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I had filler, which at first I thought was restylane but found out it was Radiesse, placed in hollows under eyes. Everyday is an adventure as to how I will look. I believe that what I have been experiencing for almost 8 months is an allergic reaction swelling, itchy eyes, dry patchy skin to the product. Last week went to a dermatology center in Miami because the skin under my eyes had dry patches that looked like dermatitis or eczema ---sagging skin under my eyes is the added bonus. I have done a lot of research and from what I read this product can last 12 months or more under eyes. The derm told me that Radiesse only lasts 6 months, but on the web site for the center says a year or more????? Are Dr.s protecting the companies that produce the fillers? Wish I could find a dr. that isn't trying to push more filler and plastic surgery. I have been using Benadryl at night, sudafed or zyrtec by day, and clarisonic opal to break up this crap. Trying to stay positive, but I have seen two plastic surgeons who a pushing for surgery for sagging skin that was not there before. My family and friends can testify to that.
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Dear all,
I've read your stories and felt a lot of pain and sadness for what happened to you. I actually had Radiesse done yesterday and didn't know anything about it as I was going to the doctor more for hyaluronic acid. I made my decision on the impulse after the doctor told me how good and safe it was. Because I'm trying to conceive so I said I didn't want to take anything dangerous like Botox. I wanted to check review of other women's to see how long it would last. I did it yesterday, I'm happy with the result and had almost no swelling and no bruises at all. However for what I'm reading now - all those bad reactions- I can tell you I will never take the risk to do it again. Now I'm living in the fear that within the next year something my happen. I'm so scared, it totally cured me to take the risk to do any kind of injections or surgery for the rest of my life. I will age and that's it. Please let me know from your experience how long does it take to develop allergy. What can you do to avoid them? I was supposed to get my wisdom teeth remove in 3 weeks but now I'm scared that the anesthesia trigger an allergy. Maybe that's a dum question but does taking the plane can make you get lumps (from the altitude and pressing)?
Thank you so much for your help, I'm so nervous I don't know if I'll be able to forget it.
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well dear, i discovered mine is not an allergy but a low grade infection, that is why it is lasting for such a long time with ups and downs.. i have to try a really long cure with anitbiotics and see if this is capable to destroy the infection, if not, my only chance is to remove as much as i can,,, the only good thing in this dram is that the product seems aggregated in pecific points and not all aorund... this experience ha destroied my life, my energy and my face... don't do this kind of stuff because any possibility of something wrong could end up in very bad procedures to solve the problem... if the problem is in the face it gets very scary cause opening is not soemthing anyone do simply.
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I also had an allergic reaction 2 wks after having radiesse injected into my cheekbones and nasolabial folds. I woke up one morning and my face was blown up like a balloon! My clinic initally thought it was an allergic reaction to something I ate because according to them, the manufacter of radiesse has never had any reports of allergic reactions ( i don't believe that) Anyway, I was reluctantly given a 6 day dose pack of oral steroids and now on day 3, the swelling came down alot. I took hinrgmike's advice and aggressively massaged the areas with a clarisonic brush, which really helped too. Learned my lesson and won't be using fillers on my face again anytime soon, I'm too scared now.
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how are you doing? I am in day 18 and my entire face is swollen like a balloon. did it ever resolve?
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I am so sorry you are experiencing the same thing that I had. It's almost 3 years now. I haven't had any significant swelling in 6 months but I still have painful inflamed connective tissues. Please file a medwatch 3500 A form with the FDA. It only takes a few minutes and eventually they will not be able to ignore what's happening to us. Good luck.
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thankyou so much, i am under the focus of an entire team here in italy, plastic surgeon, a chemical specialist who is analyzing the product since is coming out of my skin as little needles, and now i have to go to an infectivologist... i know how hard this is in particular after 11 months but hope soon to find the cause. just a question since you have been so nice... did you have pain while you were so swelled?? i have lot of pain... thanks a lot
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Glogglo - that's unfortunate to hear. Given the time since injection maybe it's the actual Radiesse vs. carrier gel. Depending where injected and your body's collagen response I've seen it last up to 2 years in a few friends (e.g. under eyes). Maybe you could try the ultrasonic trick and see if that helps increase circulation and start breaking things down. I learned that trick at Mayo Clinic. In a pinch, if you do not have access to a Clarisonic cleaner, you could try an ultrasonic toothbrush pressed up to the area. Given how hard and dense your's is and likely it is the actual Radiesse, it may not work but worth a try. I did oral steroids. They wanted to stay away from kenalog steroid injections as that is well known to leave divets as it eats away tissue. So once your Radiesse one day goes away, you may have big pock marks to fill. I'm sensitive to oral steroids but did well on the 6 day dose pack; with that you hit it hard and fast and get off before steroid side effects build up. Best of luck to you. Hope things works out soon for you.
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Ho Hinrgmike, i am happy to see you are fine, my gel has hardened so much it seems a stone and unfortunately it does not break down... well just a question, did you have oral steroids not injections on the site of the filler right? thanks
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hi hinrgmike let me know how you are.. i am dealing with an allergic reaction for 11 months.. very hard to live with... kisses gloria
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Update - one 6 day round of steroid taper stabilized everything. Between that and aggressive use of clarisonic and moist heat several times daily, I was able to quickly breakdown the carrier gel. Also probably helps that I my metabolism is pretty quick as well - I dissolve restylane and HA family within weeks; which is why I tried Radiesse in first place. Ah well, I'm back to normal and there is just a very subtle indication of fill from the small amount of the true Radiesse product. I did file an FDA medwatch report and a report with Merz, the supplier of Radiesse. Someone at Merz contacted me a few days after to collect more info. I'm confident Radiesse works well for most. Just be aware of a very small risk of allergic reaction and be ready to get on steroids fast if you encounter reaction. You will very likely swell a lot the first day or two; that is normal. From what I've learned from my case and others is that if it's an allergic reaction you will be starting to look great and then suddenly a few weeks afterwards when the carrier gel begins breaking down, you will suddenly swell rapidly. For me, I overlooked the warning signs the first day when I had some unusual skin sensations in injection area and some slight hard swelling; just shrugged it off as my imagination. Day 2 is when all heck broke loose. Also, have heard that some may require multiple rounds of steroids until the carrier gel is fully dissolved. If that happens to you, you may want to try to accelerate the carrier gel breakdown with frequent heat and massage. Holding Clarisonic static over area for extended time also seemed to help as well.
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Thank you soooo much for sharing this story with us. I'm sorry to hear you had to experience this, and can imagine it must have been pretty frightening when you didn't know exactly what was going on or how long it would last. I'm glad things have gone down some. Please keep us posted on how you are as you continue to heal.

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