I read somewhere that Restylane injections to cheeks and nasolabial folds can cause brain infarctions. Is this true?

Doctor Answers 6

Facial Sculpting Using Fillers Like Voluma, Radiesse, Lyft, Juvederm and Sculptra and Fat; Buccal Fat Pad; Botox; Liposuction

I have never seen fillers cause brain clots. it is possible to get occlusion with the fillers that can cause the skin to die or for someone to go blind, but this is VERY rare.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Restylane injections and complications

Hello! While complications are possible with any injectable and no physician will ever be able to tell you that something is NOT possible, this is not a complication that has been associated with injectable fillers such as Restylane. Poor injection technique in rare cases can cause blindness or necrosis (death) of skin in the injected area, but even those horrific complications have been reported a handful of times in the millions of injections that have been safely given. Find a physician skilled and experienced in injection technique with an understanding of complications and how to treat if they occur. Good luck!

Catherine Winslow, MD
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Cosmetic facial fillers have been reported to cause embolism (arterial blockage).

Retinal artery occlusions have been reported with use of dermal fillers containing hyaluronic acid (similar to Restylane). This happens due to accidental injection of filler into the artery leading to an eyeball which causes temporary blockage. All brain infarctions and cases of blindness reported in the literature occurred with autologous fat injections since fat particles are much larger than hyaluronic acid. Although these cases are extremely rare, it's always a good idea to have your injections performed by an experienced plastic surgeon.

Alexey Markelov, MD
Coos Bay General Surgeon

Restylane and filler injection complications

Thanks for this question. I am not aware of cases reported of brain injuries due to filler injections, however, extremely rare complications such as adverse vision effects have been reported. It is important to go to an experienced physician whether that be a facial plastic surgeon, dermatologist, etc and get all of your questions answered. Done correctly, fillers are still one of the safest things I do (in addition to Botox).

Taha Shipchandler, MD
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Restylane injections and concern for damage to the body

Generally speaking, Restylane is a very safe facial cosmetic treatment.  Very rarely, this treatment can cause harm if it is injected into a blood vessel (though I'm not familiar with any reports of brain infarctions).  This is why it is so important to find a cosmetic Dermatologist who has extensive experience with injectable fillers.  Finding an experienced physician not only ensures your safety but will provide you with a better cosmetic outcome.

Jill C. Fichtel, MD
Columbus Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Injection of Fillers and Serious Complications

Any time anything in injected anywhere in the body it can end up in an unintended location. This applies to fat and to all other fillers. The reason is accidental injection in a vein or an artery which then pushes the substance as far as it can go and then acts as a plug, blocking the delivery of oxygen beyond that point. 
That being said there have not been any cases to my knowledge of brain strokes from cheek injections but there have cases of death of the cheek and nose tip tissues. There have been a few cases of blindness associated with injections of filler in the frown wrinkles between the brows. 
These disasters cannot be eliminated but can be reduced by the use of blunt tip catheters for injecting fillers in high risk areas and by using HA - Hyaluronic Acid fillers which can be dissolved in case of impending tissue death. This cannot be done with permanent fillets such as Bellafil and Silicone. Finally, insist on having an experienced Plastic surgeon do your injections instead of an esthetician or cosmetologist. 
Dr. Peter A. Aldea
Memphis, TN

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 102 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.