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Potential Blindness from Facial Filler Injections

Potential Blindness from Facial Filler Injections

Over 7 million injections of Botox and hylauronic acid fillers were performed in the US alone in 2016, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The procedures are so common and successful that almost anyone with a medical (or sort-of medical) practice is offering the service. Even though your dentist offers facial fillers at a smaller price than perhaps your dermatologist or plastic surgeon, it’s important to realize that even “simple injections” can have risks.

Fillers Potentially Causing Blindless

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons warns fillers can cause blindness. This has little to do with the chemicals in the injections and all to do with the procedure. “When you get a filler into some of the arteries around the eye, you can get blindness,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner. “The key is – in experienced hands, can this happen? Yes. Is this high-risk? No.”

Patients who’ve never undergone cosmetic surgery or procedures need to understand that technique and experience are invaluable resources to protecting yourself, even with something as seemingly small and low-risk as Botox and filler injections. It’s important to look towards experience and results over a good deal.

Facial fillers and blindness.

“Around the eyes, you need a more experienced injector,” continues Pozner. “I would definitely not go to someone advertising on Groupon to get your filler around the eyes. Go to someone experienced, go to someone who knows what they’re doing. That doctor should go slow and inject carefully.”

Saving Some Change in Exchange for Higher Risk

Botox and fillers have entrenched themselves as one of the best portals into cosmetic surgery for inexperienced patients. There is no surgery involved, no general anesthesia, no recovery. For a few simple needle sticks, years of age can be vanquished – for a time. The two methods are not permanent, but the results are enough to keep patients coming back after they run out.

For these reasons, it’s easy for some patients to think that it’s ok to buy Groupon discounted filler procedures, or rely on sub-qualified practitioners. It’s just a simple injection after all, right?

“It’s like that Geico commercial in reverse: you save 15% on your car insurance but not 15% on your face,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Camp. “You do need to have somebody with expertise to do [fillers]. Everything we do in plastic surgery has some degree of risk, but there are principles and things we can do to keep our patients safe.”

Knowing More than just Fillers

One major advantage in seeing a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for fillers is their experience in other procedures involving injections. This variety in experiences allows elite practitioners to know not only how to inject, but where to inject and what to inject with. For example, knowing that a microcannula injection carries far less risks than needles.

Blunt tip microcannulas for fillers.

“I think it’s more important that we stress using a blunt, micro cannula injection for fillers anywhere on the face,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Messa.

When it comes to safety and your health, cutting corners is not usually the suggested option. Botox and fillers are, in a way, simple and easy. This is definitely true in the hands of experienced surgeons, a comforting thought worthy of the extra investment.

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