Cosmetic surgery and dermal filler treatments are more popular than ever, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Recent advances in the realm of cosmetic fillers have led to a surge in popularity and minimally invasive procedures are in increased demand. However, in recent years, cosmetic filler removal has also become a common request. In this article, we’ll explore why patients are seeking to remove their fillers and what can be expected from the procedure.
Why Patients Are Opting for Cosmetic Filler Removal
Like many other industries, cosmetic treatments are subject to trends. While full lips and dramatic transformations were the popular standard of procedures several years ago, preferences are starting to shift. In addition to a rise in a younger demographic (18 to 25 year olds) seeking treatment, there is also a trending desire for more natural-looking, and subtle results. This is one of the reasons for patients returning to their injectors seeking to dissolve their fillers.
In the last few years, many prominent celebrities have spoken up about their decision to remove fillers from their face or lips in order to correct overfilling, which led to their features looking distorted and unnatural – this was their original goal, but now they are seeking a more subtle look. These popular beauty influencers help strengthen and even establish the beauty trends that trickle down to the average individual.
How to Remove Fillers
The longevity of cosmetic fillers depends on the particular product injected, with most of today’s popular fillers being temporary. For some patients seeking a more natural look, simply opting out of receiving additional filler treatments can work. Popular hyaluronic acid fillers dissolve on their own in six to twelve months, as the gel is reabsorbed by the body. However, if patients desire a faster solution for removing their hyaluronic acid fillers, they can receive enzyme injections to break down the gel. Injecting the enzyme hyaluronidase into the treatment area will yield positive results within 24 hours. The dermal filler can either be partially or entirely removed based on the patient’s desired results.
Injecting hyaluronidase is a similar procedure as the initial filler injection. It is a short procedure that can be performed over a lunch break, with patients seeing improvement within hours. After injecting the hyaluronidase filler removal agent, the area should be massaged to help break down the filler. Determining the correct amount of hyaluronidase required to achieve optimal results requires skill and expertise.
Though filler removal does not sound as complicated as filler injection, training and experience is vital in both procedures. A botched filler removal procedure can result in complications such as contusions, asymmetry, or depressions in the skin. To avoid these problems, it is best not to inject too much hyaluronidase at once, and multiple sessions may be the best choice for removing large amounts of filler.
When is Using Cosmetic Filler Removal Appropriate?
The decision to remove dermal fillers often comes down to personal preference. Patients may decide they are unhappy with the results of their filler immediately or change their mind about their appearance over time. It is recommended that patients wait at least two weeks after treatment to assess their results, as there may be some swelling from the procedure, and it is better to evaluate the results after the swelling reduces. There is also the possibility that the filler will shift slightly months after injection, which may make the aesthetic effects different and therefore unsatisfactory to the patient. Additionally, there are other instances where cosmetic filler removal is not only appropriate but recommended.
Cosmetic filler removal may be appropriate if the patient experiences these symptoms:
- Prolonged or excessive swelling
- Lumpy or irregular texture that cannot be fixed with massage
- Vascular compromise from filler being injected too close to blood vessels
As a filler removal agent, hyaluronidase only works on hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Belotero products. A dissolving agent may not always be required, as smaller issues such as mild lumpiness or asymmetry may be solved with simple manual massage.
How to Remove Non-Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
While hyaluronic acid fillers are some of the most popular dermal fillers, there are other common brands of filler made of ingredients that are not as easily removed. Dermal fillers such as Radiesse, Bellafill, and Sculptra are not susceptible to hyaluronidase. Doctors have recently started using a sodium bisulfate injection to remove Radiesse, and steroid injections may help remove some of the other brands of dermal fillers, to a certain extent. Unfortunately, the most effective way to reverse the results of non-hyaluronic acid fillers at present is to allow the body to break them down naturally.
If a patient is severely unhappy with their fillers, injectors may improve the results through careful placement of additional filler. In extremely rare cases, surgical removal may be possible, though this is not recommended.
There are many reasons why patients may choose to undergo dermal filler removal. As beauty trends change to favor a more natural look, the number of patients seeking filler removal is likely to increase. Injectors should use as much caution and skill when dissolving dermal fillers as they do when injecting, as there can be complications with cosmetic filler removal.