Are Soft Tissue Fillers Dangerous?

Soft tissue fillers, or dermal fillers, have been making headlines recently for being possibly unsafe, leading some to reconsider using them. But many people don’t realize why these fillers have been deemed unsafe, and how they can avoid the dangers caused by these unsafe uses.

A 2015 news release by the Food and Drug Administration warned of the dangers of accidentally injecting soft tissue fillers into blood vessels. This type of accidental injection usually occurs when practitioners are not properly trained on injecting this type of filler, or when they are using it in a way that is not approved by the FDA.

The good news is that these fillers really are safe when used as directed and for the procedures approved by the FDA. But what can you as a patient do to help safeguard yourself from accidental injection to the blood vessels?  Here are some pointers to remember:

Only Use Fillers for Approved Procedures

Currently, soft tissue fillers have FDA approval for use in facial wrinkles such as in the nasolabial folds, and some brands are also approved for lip augmentation procedures. If your practitioner suggests using soft tissue fillers for anything that does not fit those criteria, visit the FDA website to check the name brand of filler and see what uses it is approved for.

Only Use Qualified Professionals

When we say qualified professionals, we don’t mean your hairdresser, eye doctor or dentist. We mean someone who has extensive training in facial plastic surgery, who knows the muscles and blood vessels of the face, but who also has specific training in cosmetic procedures. Many times, med-spas or hair salons will offer discounted fillers, because the people performing the procedure lack the necessary training to charge top dollar for these services. This may seem like a good deal for you, but unfortunately these practitioners can do serious damage to your face and body if they’re off by even a millimeter.  No potential savings is worth that risk!

When in Doubt, Verify Your Practitioner’s License

If you aren’t sure if your practitioner is licensed and board certified to perform the procedure you’re seeking, don’t be afraid to ask to see their license or board certification. You can easily look up the numbers provided and verify that these documents are authentic and valid. If the practitioner does not have these documents, put your health first and avoid allowing them to provide you any medical procedures. It could save your life!