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Wrinkle Relief: Injectable Cosmetic Fillers

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Risks

Getting injected with cosmetic wrinkle fillers is an elective procedure. As with any medical procedure, it poses risks.

Possible side effects include

  • infection
  • bruising
  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain
  • tenderness
  • itching and rash
  • raised bumps of skin (nodules or granulomas) that may need to be surgically removed
  • death of skin, which may cause disfiguration, if the cosmetic wrinkle filler is injected and blocks a blood vessel
  • sore (abscess) at the injection site
  • wrinkle filler that breaks through the skin
  • open or draining wounds
  • blurred vision and flu-like symptoms
  • increased allergic reaction that may lead to a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) that requires emergency medical help. (Your doctor may request a pre-treatment allergy test to determine if you are allergic to the filler.)

Most side effects occur shortly after injection and go away within seven days. In some cases, side effects may emerge weeks, months, or years later. A non-absorbable filler may cause long-term side effects.

You should not use cosmetic wrinkle fillers if any of the following applies to you:

  • severe allergies marked by a history of anaphylactic shock
  • allergy to cow collagen or eggs
  • allergy to lidocaine
  • inflamed or infected skin
  • prone to form excessive scarring (keloid) or thick scarring (hypertrophic scars)
  • bleeding disorder
  • active inflammatory condition (cysts, pimples, rashes or hives) or infection; you should postpone treatment until the condition is controlled.

Tips for Consumers

Before deciding to get injected with a cosmetic wrinkle filler:

  • Be aware that the safety of these products is unknown for use in pregnant or breastfeeding women or in patients under 18 years of age.
  • Be aware that the safety is unknown when these products are used with Botox or other wrinkle therapies.
  • Be aware that the safety of these fillers has only been studied when used in the face.
  • Know the type of product that will be injected and all of its possible side effects.
  • Discuss fillers with a doctor who can refer you to a specialist in the fields of dermatology and aesthetic plastic surgery.
  • Select a doctor who is trained to do the procedure. (You may want to contact the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at www.surgery.org.)
  • Have realistic expectations about the benefits you want to achieve and discuss them with your doctor.