Should my Doctor Have Sterilized my Skin Before Injecting Juvederm?

All he did was apply the topical anesthetic to my nasolabial folds (over my makeup), then in went the needle. I asked if I should first wash the area and he said no! Is this right?

Doctor Answers 10

Filler Injection and Sterile Technique

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To prevent infection, sterilization of the skin is not necessary - I certainly would not fault any practitioner for doing so, but there is no evidence to suggest that sterile technique for filler injections decreases the already very low incidence of infection with this procedure. Prior to filler injections, I prefer that any makeup, moisturizer or medication be removed with cleanser/water. I then swipe the areas I am injecting with an alcohol swab.

San Diego Dermatologist

Cleansing is a good idea but not proven

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The value of antiseptic cleansing on percutaneous injections is intuitively supported but, to the best of my knowledge, there are no established studies documenting the absolute need or the potential complications of simple cleansing/wiping off of the surface.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

A clean, not sterilized, face is the best

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It is not necessary to sterilize the face. Removal of make-up to prevent particles from getting under the skin and stimulating a foriegn body reaction may reduce rare granulomas and lumps. I have my assistant remove make-up, then apply topical anesthetic. I remove the ointment just prior to injecting with a clean alcohol gauze wipe.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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You should be fine

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 In most cases, it is sufficient to wipe the area with an alcohol pad before injecting - the utility of this really is not certain either.  There really is no need to "wash" your face unless it is very dirty or there is a lot of caked on makeup.  Good luck.

Fillers and sterility

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I always prep the skin with alcohol, I think that is appropriate and minimizes the risk of infection.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Sterile technique is not necessary, but

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for any facial injection, clean technique should be practiced. Wiping the area with an alcohol gauze wipe prior to injection is sufficient. More importantly, make sure you are getting a brand new syringe of Juvederm, not a partial or left-over syringe. Have the doctor open up the pre-packaged, sterile syringe in front of you.

Felix Kuo, MD
Long Island Dermatologist

A swipe with alcohol is fine

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Generally, a single swipe with an alcohol pad should be enough.  If you are not comfortable with your doctor's technique, there are many others around whom you could switch over to for future treatments. 

Alcohol prep is adequate

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Most physicians will wipe the area with an alcohol prep pad prior to injections.  This has been a traditional practice and makes everyone feel better.  I really don't think you have anything to worry about if the skin wasn't swiped with a cleansing solution. 

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Standard cleansing OK

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There is no need for a major antiseptic cleansing for this procedure. Just a simple wash with the antiseptic of the physician's choice. Alcohol too would be perfectly acceptable for fillers. After all, when blood is drawn the skin is only briefly cleansed and in that case you are enterring blood vessels.

It is said that for Botox one should use a different cleanser than alcohol. Some people feel that alcohol could slightly inactivate the Botox

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

I use alcohol pads

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It is better in general to get makeup off, and use alcohol to sterilize the skin.  If you did not suffer an infection or other problem, no harm no foul.

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.