Dermal Fillers

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There are a variety of dermal fillers available in Australia. The most common dermal filler is a non-permanent filler that closely resembles a component of normal skin and its supporting tissues. It adds volume to the area where it is injected and as it attracts water, it hydrates the tissues. There is also some evidence that it can stimulate your skin’s structural protein production and improve the quality of the skin where it is injected.

Non-permanent fillers can be used to ‘fill’ lines, replace lost volume, provide lift and are also used as ‘skin boosters’ to improve the quality of the skin, its texture and luminescence. They may be used to enhance features such as lips or cheeks, or may be used to try to improve the changes that occur through the ageing process. These fillers are primarily used on the face but can also improve the appearance of the décolletage and back of the hands.

Most types of non-permanent fillers have the advantage that they can be reversed if the need arises either due to an undesired result or a complication, as explained below.

Other fillers available in Australia may work by stimulating the body’s cells to produce more structural protein and are not immediately reversible . Some fillers are classified as permanent fillers.

Side effects of any treatment are effects that occur just as a result of treatment and usually settle on their own.

Common side effects include swelling and bruising which generally settles within a week. It’s best not to rely on your appearance immediately after your procedure with dermal fillers as swelling can simply occur as a result of treatment and will not necessarily reflect the final outcome. You should allow two weeks for the final result to be known in most cases.

Complications are effects that are not expected to occur and may require treatment. Whilst infection is a recognised complication it is not very common when procedures are performed in accordance with Infection Control standards as set down by Commonwealth Health and Aging1 . Should infection occur it would be within a few days of treatment. If you suspect infection you should return to your treating doctor immediately. Infections may present as a generalized tender swelling or nodules, and usually there is warmth and redness around the area .

Rare but serious complications occur if the filler interferes with a blood vessel causing a blockage. Most often there will be significant pain in the area if this happens and cause an area of skin or tissue to look different to the surrounding areas. This is due to lack of blood supply to the area and insufficient oxygen to the skin. It is essential to inform your treating doctor if this occurs.

In extremely rare circumstances, the filler has blocked the artery to an eye requiring emergency treatment2 because of the risk of permanent loss of vision of an eye. This is one reason why your prescribing doctor be nearby during procedures to best manage any complications should they ever occur.

1. Published on National Health and Medical Research Council (
Generated on 6 September 2018 @ 12:03am
Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of
Infection in Healthcare (2010)

2.CPCA doctors are conversant with management of these complications