Dermal Fillers

When Fillers Go Wrong

Filler injections are considered safe when administered by a qualified cosmetic doctor. However, some complications can occur when they are injected incorrectly by an unskilled practitioner. This blog explains what common side effects of fillers are,how to tell that filler treatment has gone wrong and how to avoid fillers going wrong.

Fillers are non-surgical cosmetic procedures injected into skin tissues to improve facial complexity. Their popularity is growing daily, with over a million people harnessing the benefits of fillers annually. Filler treatment is a safe way to fight ageing or premature ageing signs caused by chronic diseases or environmental factors. These signs include harrowing cheeks, thin lips, wrinkles, deep-rooted facial lines, pronounced laugh lines, and sunken eyes. Additionally, they provide a temporal result with those looks and feel natural. Although the procedure is considered safe by FSA, it can sometimes have some adverse complications and side effects if performed by an unskilled cosmetic doctor.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Fillers?

Wollina et al. (2020) explained that, like other medical procedures, fillers might be accompanied by mild side effects that last for a few hours or two days, depending on the body’s defence system. How cautiousone is with the cosmeticdoctor’s aftercare tips. If one sees the following side effects, don’t conclude that fillertreatments have gone wrong:

  • Bruising:  a highly skilled cosmetic doctor will explain ways to fasten the healing process and avoid the chances of bruising.
  • Swelling: sometimes, the injected facial areas may appear swollen and sore after the treatment. To avoid prolonging the healing process, one is advised to avoid wearing makeup and taking alcohol for at least 48 hours.
  • Itchy skin is rare, but sometimesa person may feel itching immediately after the injection.
  • Bleeding slightly at the treated point
  • Bumpiness and tenderness

How to Tell That Filler Treatment Has Gone Wrong?

According to Haneke & Eckart (2015), extreme complications are rare occasions affecting less than 1% of patients seeking dermal filler treatment. It mostly occurs when onehas injected fillers with an unqualified cosmetic doctor or ignores cosmetic aftercare tips provided by the practitioner. Nonetheless, the following are ways that show filler treatment has failed:

Large Blebs and Nodules

Blebs and nodules are large lumps when an unskilled cosmetic doctor places lip fillers near the skin’s surface. They are painless, but they provide an unsightly look. Fortunately, the lumps can be managed using a proper facial massage and compressing them with warm water before they puncture to release the goo. Sometimes nodules may occur months later, making them tricky to manage. At this point, the aesthetician might assess the health history and correctly prescribe medication to fix the problem.

Allergic Reactions

It occurs if the patient is dishonest about their allergy to certain cosmetic products. The reaction is rare and common to customers allergic to an anaesthetic. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Prolonged swelling and bruising for more than a week or 2
  • Constant facial pain
  • Endless itchiness
  • Skin rashes
  • Excessive bleeding


If one compromises their skin barrier, there is always a chance of getting an infection. In filler injections, contracting infections is rare, and the risk is minimized by having the treatment in an authorized clinic with a highly skilled cosmetic doctor. Confusingly, most symptoms of infection are familiar to those experiencing after filler treatment. However, the difference is that they are more vigorous and persist for a prolonged period. The most common infection associated with filler treatments is cold sores. Sometimes filler treatment can activate the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores.


Occlusions are very rare but very serious. Chuchvara et al. (2021) explained that occlusions are massively caused by inexperienced cosmetic doctors who inject fillers directly or closely to veins or arteries, thus blocking the blood vessels. Blocking blood flows because of some serious changes in the skin’s appearance, and one must pick the following symptoms as early as possible before they cause more damage to skin tissues:

  • Blanching of the injected skin area
  • Pale skin
  • Blue to black skin pigmentation
  • Mottled skin
  • Sometimes skin shedding
  • Pustules

These symptoms tend to arise quickly depending on the blood vessel blocked. When an artery is compromised, a cosmetic doctor can notice the signs before an individual leaves the clinic and act accordingly. When veins are blocked, the symptoms will arise before the end of the day when they reach home. 


Migration of filler materials from the targeted point to an unwanted one is uncommon and mostly caused by ignoring cosmetic doctor’s aftercare tips. However,one can restore the uneven result by adding additional filler or dissolving the migrated filler materials with hyaluronidase.

How to Avoid Fillers Going Wrong

Going to Licensed Cosmetic Doctors with a Good Reputation

Licensed cosmetic doctors receive intensive training that values filler treatment safety and precautions. One can ask the doctor to show pictures of previous cosmetic treatments to verify their qualification. Otherwise,one can analyze other customers’ comments and ratings and avoid poorly rated physicians.

Avoid Too Much Filler

It would help if one always discussed with the aesthetician what they are looking for before engaging in treatment. A qualified cosmetic doctor will customize injection plans based on their look before administering the filler materials. Too many filler injections can trigger complications like migration, infections, and even large lumps.

Always Follow Cosmetic Doctor After Tips

Davies & Emma (2019) highlighted thefollowing common guidelines that an aesthetician might give a patient:

  • Avoid alcohol and blood thinning medications for at least two days
  • Don’t apply makeup after the treatment. wait until you fully recover
  • Stay hydrated
  • Sleep with your head elevated
  • Don’t fly for a week after the treatment
  • Give your face a break from rough touches
  • Avoid high-temperature rooms and hot showers for at least 24 hours
  • Avoid strenuous exercises for 48 hours after the infection

Be Honest

Don’t lie to the cosmetic doctor about your health conditions or lifestyle. They use the information provided and diagnosis results to determine the right concentration and type of fillers to administer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fillers

Where Are Fillers Injected?

Fillers are injected into cheek muscles, lips tissue, beneath the skin around the eye, and jaw muscles to eliminate wrinkles, deep-rooted facial lines, and plump lips and cheeks.

How Long Do Fillers Last?

Filler treatments are not permanent. They mostly last for 6 to 18 months, depending on the concentration and type of the filler injected, the patient’s body chemistry, and the professionality of the cosmetic doctor.


The Food Standard Agency (FSA) has regarded fillers as a safe cosmetic procedure. The treatment is accompanied by no or minimal side effects that can last a few hours after the infection. However, choosing an inexperienced or unqualified cosmetic doctor to administer the injection can cause serious complications. These complications include skin infections, occlusions, filler migrations, large lumps, and allergic reactions. Therefore, be careful with the clinic of your choice and be honest withthe aesthetician about your lifestyle and health conditions to avoid triggering complications.


Chuchvara, N., Alamgir, M., John, A. M., & Rao, B. (2021). Dermal filler-induced vascular occlusion was successfully treated with tadalafil, hyaluronidase, and aspirin. Dermatologic Surgery47(8), 1160-1162.

Davies, E. (2019). Practice standard for the management of dermal filler complications. Journal of Aesthetic Nursing8(7), 340-341.

Haneke, E. (2015). Managing complications of fillers: rare and not-so-rare. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery8(4), 198.

Wollina, U., Katsambas, E. A., Lotti, T., Jafferany, M., Navarini, A. A., Berg, R. V., … & MDl, M. G. (2020). A complication of soft tissue fillers: prevention and management review. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology19(9), 829-832.

Nataly Komova
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