I received Bellafill in several places in my face...
15 Jan 2016
4 months post
I received Bellafill in several places in my face from a reputable, talented double board certified plastic surgeon. I assumed I was a low-risk candidate for Bellafill. I'm healthy, I have no history of severe allergies and I have had temporary HA fillers in the past with no trouble, other than the fact that my body metabolizes them lightning-fast.
The Bellafill looked amazing and I had no problems until 4 months later when I developed swelling, pain, and palpable lumps in numerous areas. I believe that I am having a granulomatous reaction even though there are no visible huge discolored lumps...yet. Now I have no idea what will happen to my face - whether this will stay the same or get worse or whether it will respond to treatment. I am horrified at the prospect of surgical excision, especially since I'm sure I would still be left scarred/disfigured. I am so, so scared - I'm only 32 and may have to live with the consequences of this terrible mistake for decades to come.
Please stick with the temporary fillers. Yes, they are very expensive and a hassle to keep getting redone so frequently, but even a slight chance of permanent complications isn't worth the risk. Complications might be rare, but they will happen to someone - don't think that that someone couldn't be you.
Very Important Update!
22 Jan 2016
4 months post
I have discovered through recent trial and error that doing what you can to reduce inflammation in your body will help with these issues a lot! Exercise moderately, cut back on sugar, and take antioxidant/anti-inflammatory supplements. I can feel a huge difference when I binge on sugar or miss my exercise and supplements. I can't promise resolution of lumps, especially since I've only started this regimen very recently, but my other symptoms (stinging and swelling) have responded positively. I would bet that lowering inflammation reduces the likelihood of forming lumps in the future.
25 Jan 2016
4 months post
I wanted to list the supplements I'm taking in case anyone is interested.
I really believe they are responsible for my drastic improvement. I got the idea to try them in the first place because I found in all my research that there is evidence that free radicals/inflammation play a role in adverse filler reactions, and my experience seems to support that.
Here they are:
-2000 mg fish oil
-good quality multivitamin (taken as directed on the package)
-400 mg magnesium
-750 mg curcumin
-5000 IU vitamin D3
-1200 mg tart cherry capsules
-12 mg astaxanthin (I may reduce this a bit just because it's a VERY strong antioxidant and I could probably get by with a lower dose)
One more thing - if you drink sugary soda, stop or cut back drastically. I love it and used to drink a lot of it, but have realized that more than a little makes my face flare up.
Good luck - if you try it, let me know if it helps you! Just don't expect results within a day or anything. I would give it at least a week. The supplements don't work instantly like drugs, but they also are free of dangerous side effects!
Due to being extremely busy and stressed for the past few months, I fell off the wagon. I was constantly eating unhealthy food on the run and wasn't taking the time to exercise or take supplements.
Well, it came back to bite. Two weeks ago, my symptoms returned (really they never resolved 100% but they had improved tremendously. My cheeks were still swollen this entire time but not that noticeably, and I had no pain).
This time around, the pain returned and swelling reappeared in places where it had gone down months ago. Thankfully none of it has been as bad as when this happened the first time.
So I'm back on the supplement regimen, with a few changes, and it seems to be helping a lot. The pain is mostly gone and the swelling is improving. At this point I don't want more 5-FU shots, although I will get them if things worsen and I start to look unsightly.
I started doing a lot more reading and research, racking my brain wondering WHY this is happening to me AGAIN. I'm a seemingly healthy person, so why is my immune system overreacting and unable to handle a product that is fine for most people? Something is clearly wrong here.
My conclusion: I really believe the biggest problem is vitamin D deficiency. It is a critical immunomodulator, which is what we need when our immune system is having inappropriate reactions to foreign bodies, or to our own tissue as in autoimmune disease, etc.
Deficiency is very common, and I would bet particularly so in this community since we care about our appearances and therefore most of us aren't willing to trash our skin in the sun. I urge you all to read up on vitamin D. You need more than you might think and the health consequences of deficiency go far beyond aesthetics and can be truly horrifying!
Current daily supplement regimen:
-2000 mg fish oil
-good quality multivitamin (taken as directed)
-10,000 IU vitamin D3 (large dose but just temporary to get my levels up)
-12 mg astaxanthin
-400 mg green tea extract (this is an immunomodulator as well)
I'll keep you all posted! Let me know if you have questions.
vitamin D - light bulb moment!
15 Jun 2016
9 months post
As I said in my last update, I had the feeling that vitamin D is probably critical in correcting these adverse reactions (or preventing them in the first place).
I got to thinking about the similarity between some of these complications and keloids/hypertrophic scarring. The treatment is even the same--steroids and/or 5-FU.
Well, I thought I remembered reading before that keloids are more common in African-Americans and other people with darker skin...which points to low vitamin D levels being the culprit! I did some Googling and sure enough, new research suggests that vitamin D could possibly be useful to prevent and treat keloids/hypertrophic scarring.
***If you're planning to have any procedure done that could cause scarring, make sure your vitamin D levels are where they need to be! And of course you should do that anyway for health reasons.***
As for my symptoms, currently my swelling is worse on some days than others. I had several days there with pretty drastic improvement, but then the swelling came back after spending a long day outside in extreme heat. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not. Overall the swelling is still never as bad as it was months ago. The pain is almost gone; I will feel an occasional twinge randomly but it's happening less and less.
It turns out curcumin is the answer
17 Jul 2016
10 months post
As I have stated previously, I've been taking supplements for some time to manage my complications and they have always helped at least some. But I still had swelling that was worse on some days than others and overall was not happy with how I looked.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try curcumin again as I had in the past, but this time I bought a very high-quality (and expensive) brand.
IT WORKS. I'm so happy to report that I'm very pleased with the way I look now.
If you have filler complications, please try it. It has been shown in studies to be as effective as steroids, and it's natural and healthy instead of fraught with terrible side effects.