Cosmetic surgery and augmentation are more popular than ever, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Recent technological advances in the realm of cosmetic fillers have led to a surge in popularity and minimally invasive aesthetic procedures are in increased demand. However, in recent years, cosmetic filler removal has also become a common request. Here, we’ll explore why patients are seeking to remove their fillers and what can be expected from the procedure.
Why More Patients Are Opting for Cosmetic Filler Removal
Like many other industries, cosmetic surgery is subject to trends. While full lips and dramatic transformations were the popular standard of cosmetic surgery 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 an overwhelming desire for more natural-looking, subtle results. This is one of the driving factors in patients returning to their injectors seeking to dissolve their fillers.
Another contributor to more patients seeking filler removal is the inevitable fallout from non-invasive procedures such as the liquid facelift becoming more popular. A greater number of patients seeking such treatment let to a great number of patients receiving bad results. Unfortunately, many practitioners did not err on the side of caution, and many patients were overfilled.
In the last few years, prominent celebrities such as Courteney Cox, Kylie Jenner, and Yolanda Hadid have spoken up about their decision to remove fillers from their face or lips in order to correct the overfilling that led to their features looking distorted and unnatural. As usually happens, the decisions of the famous and influential became trends for the average individual.
How to Remove Fillers
The longevity of cosmetic fillers depends on the 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 can work. Popular hyaluronic acid fillers dissolve on their own in six to 12 months as the gel is reabsorbed by the body. However, if patients want 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 treated area will yield results within 24 hours. The filler can either be partially or entirely removed based on the patient’s desired results.
Injecting hyaluronidase is similar to the initial filler injection. It is a short procedure that can be performed over a lunch break, and patients see improvement within hours. After injecting the filler removal agent, the area should be massaged to help break down the filler. Determining the correct amount of hyaluronidase required to achieve optimal requires skill and expertise.
Though filler removal does not sound as complicated as filler injection, training and experience is vital in both instances. A botched filler removal procedure can result in complications such as contusions, asymmetry, or depressions in the skin. To avoid these issues, 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 Cosmetic Filler Removal Appropriate?
The decision to remove filler often boils down to personal preference. Patients may decide they are unhappy with the results of their filler immediately or change their mind about them 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. There is also the chance that the filler will shift months after injection, which may make the aesthetic effects different and therefore unsatisfactory to the patient. Additionally, there are many other instances where cosmetic filler removal is not only appropriate but recommended.
Cosmetic filler removal may be appropriate if the patient experiences:
- 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 necessary, as smaller issues such as mild lumpiness or asymmetry may be solved with simple massage.
How to Remove Non-Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
While hyaluronic acid fillers are some of the most popular, other common brands of filler of made of ingredients that are not as easily removed. Fillers like 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 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.
If a patient is severely unhappy with their fillers, injectors may improve the results through careful placement of additional filler. In rare cases, surgical removal may be possible, though this is not recommended.
There are many reasons why a patient may choose to undergo cosmetic filler removal. As beauty trends change to favor a more natural look, the number of patients seeking filler removal is likely to increase. The best way to prevent cosmetic filler removal is to under rather than overfill when initially injecting the patient, especially when using non-hyaluronic acid fillers that are much more difficult to remove. Injectors should use as much caution and skill when dissolving fillers as they do when injecting, as there can be complications with cosmetic filler removal.