Are dermal fillers dangerous is a common question asked by first-time aesthetics patients. At Fox, we strive to ensure that aesthetics is a safe and inclusive space for all patients. We caught up with Dr Youssef Haffar, an experienced aesthetic practitioner and medic to talk all things dermal filler safety and REVOLAX. Dr Haffar practices at Simply Clinics, at locations across London.
What are the dangers of dermal fillers?
‘Unlike Botox, which is a prescription only medicine and can only be administered by a medical professional, the lack of regulations around who can perform dermal fillers I believe is one of the most severe dangers of the industry,’ Dr Haffar explained.
‘The act itself is not dangerous when completed by experienced, highly trained professionals,’ says Dr Haffar, ‘however, the absence of regulated processes means the treatment can be performed by anyone – unfortunately even someone who is not extensively trained.’
Due to the current financial climate, patients may be looking to cut costs wherever possible. This may mean opting for cheaper dermal filler treatments, administered by under-qualified practitioners promoting offers and deals. So, what are the dangers of inexperienced or under-qualified practitioners?
‘Due to their lack of knowledge, the products they are using could also be poor quality and damaging to the client’s safety,’ Dr Haffar says, ‘Inexperienced and un-trained practitioners lack knowledge on how to handle patients if any problems arise during treatment.’
What are the most serious filler complications that can arise after incorrectly injected dermal fillers?
‘As with all injectables, there are risks involved’ explains Dr Haffar, ‘vascular occlusions are one of the most severe complications that can arise during a dermal filler treatment. It can involve the blockage of a blood vessel, diminishing blood flow to the area which can be incredibly dangerous if not handled correctly. Procedures can often go wrong when inexperienced – which is why it’s safest to do extensive research into your practitioner before having your treatment.’
Dr Haffar adds that over-filling is an often-overlooked error that can lead to a host of complications ‘Practitioners who overfill treatment areas by adding too much product or filling incorrectly, can enable complications such as filler lumps, or excess product outside of the treatment area which can lead to swelling or inflammation. Whilst not as serious as an occlusion, incorrect filler placement can completely ruin your results.’
How can these aesthetic treatment complications be resolved, should they arise?
‘Filler can be dissolved using Hyalase, but even this comes with precautions’ Dr Haffar warns, ‘it is an incredibly strong product that can cause allergic reactions if not tested properly.’
How can patients help to minimise the risk of complications, or a botched filler treatment?
‘If patients are choosing a safe practitioner, such as an experienced doctor, then they prevent any risks or complications during and after the treatment,’ Dr Haffar advises, ‘medical professionals have expert knowledge of facial anatomy and therefore, have a greater understanding of facial aesthetics – they know which areas need treatment, which need additional filler or anti-wrinkle support and how much product to use. We also know which filler products are of profound quality and are able to source them from reputable sources. By choosing a medical professional, it not only minimises the risks, but ensures your results are as natural looking and seamless as possible. Both myself and Dr Natasha are registered, highly experienced doctors who have over 9 years of experience injecting.’
How important is it for patients to thoroughly research their aesthetic practitioner?
Patients have a duty of care to themselves and can help to minimise the risk of an unwanted outcome by selecting a reputable practitioner. Dr Haffar advises, ‘To avoid and minimise any risks, it’s vital to research into a qualified practitioner before you book your appointment. Look into their qualifications, view their client portfolios and before and after photos, and see if you know anyone who has had a treatment done there before. It’s easy to minimise the risks of dermal filler, but the easiest way to start is by going with an experienced aesthetician and a company who has a good reputation.’
Overall, how safe are dermal fillers, in your professional opinion?
‘Ultimately, dermal fillers are safe when in the right hands and when a high quality, well-known filler brand is used,’ says Dr Haffar.
How do you ensure safe treatment for your patients at Simply Clinics?
‘At Simply Clinics we use REVOLAX for the majority of our dermal filler treatments. The product itself is one of the main points of treatment to consider. Most dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid; a natural substance found in the body. This means that over time, the product is broken down by the body itself – it’s not a permanent treatment,’ explains Dr Haffar.
‘The actual treatment itself is safe and at Simply Clinics, we use a cannula when injecting our clients for a protected treatment method which utilises minimal injection points. A cannula is also much blunter than a regular needle and, therefore, is less likely to burst any blood vessels. We also use a numbing cream to help with any discomfort during the treatment.’
Stay tuned to our aesthetics blog for more on dermal filler safety.