The Risk of Vascular Occlusion with Fillers

Life is short, just buy the face, they say. What would you like to change about yours? Stowing away fancy makeup and killer stilettos for the lockdown does not destroy big dreams for little needles. While plastic surgeon offices lay bare, it’s the best time to read up on the risks of filler injections. We bring you the top 5 facts on vascular occlusion as told by board-certified experts.


#1: A Rare but Real Risk

Vascular occlusion is caused by an accidental injection of filler into an artery. This results in a blockage of circulation in oxygen and nutrients to cells in the area. Experts concur that compression can also be a cause. NYC’s Dr. Doris Day admits that the topic of vascular occlusion is often taboo talk among cosmetic clinics. It is downplayed because experts feel the 0.05% risk is simply not worth stirring the coop over. Still, one should be aware of its possibility before subjecting themselves to jelly syringes.


#2: Location Matters

Different vessels carry different consequences. Some so dire, they are not to be sneezed at. There have been reported cases of blindness, strokes, and even death. Blindness is usually permanent. Less severe cases can cause scarring and skin loss. High-risk areas include fillers in the glabella and the nose.


#3: Risk Reduction is Possible

Safe zones do not exist because the anatomy of each patient is unique. But, steps can be taken to curtail risks. Canadian dermatologist Dr. Katie Beleznay says that the slow injection technique of moving the needle tip constantly can reduce occurrences. It’s important to heed your doctor’s advice on alternative solutions. Such as the injection of neuromodulation in high-risk areas.


#4: There Are Signs

Aspiration and cannulas are still highly debatable safety techniques. Opting for multiple sessions instead of one huge influx is still the safest approach. Should you decide otherwise, it’s important to note the two common signs of vascular occlusion. First being the instantaneous whitening of overlaying skin on injection. The second, a stinging pain with an intense burning sensation. Your doctor should quickly flood the area with the enzyme hyaluronidase to when this happens.


#5: Sometimes Reversible

Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Steven Fagien says that timely treatment can remedy the situation. There is no definitive protocol for irreversible fillers such as Radiesse, but the use of hyaluronidase is effective on Hyaluronic Acid Fillers. Hyaluronidase has anti-inflammatory properties that can soften tissue and help dislodge blockages.


Knowledge is power! Don’t let curiosity kill the cat, or rather, you. If fillers are still on your mind, it’s probably worth the risk!  

If you have any questions, please contact us.