The Safety of Dermal Fillers
Following recent press coverage on the complications of using Cosmetic Dermal Fillers as a non-surgical route to achieving younger-looking skin, we have put together a list of Q&A’s to help you understand the difference between the various cosmetic fillers available on the market.
What are the common concerns associated with Dermal Fillers?
- At present, Dermal Fillers are un-regulated in the UK, meaning that they do not require a prescription, or for a practitioner to be a ‘prescribing healthcare professional’. This means that anyone who has undertaken a half-day course, such as beauticians, can purchase and administer them – no medical background is needed to administer the fillers.
- There are close to 160 injectable fillers available on the UK market (in comparison to only 6 fillers approved by the FDA in America), leaving patients at risk of poor quality products.• There are some types of fillers (such as permanent fillers) that require a great level of expertise, as well as a medical skill set to administer correctly and safely.
- Beauty salons and clinics offering permanent fillers (such as Bio-Alcamid, featured on The Times on Sunday), do not make patients fully aware that they are permanent, and that any future complication would be more difficult to rectify, probably requiring surgical removal by a Plastic Surgeon.
- There are many fillers on the market that are sub-standard, and unfortunately, due to the lack of quality control, many patients opting for the ‘cheaper’ sources of treatments end up with undesired results and complications.
If you are considering having Dermal Fillers, you need to always make sure that you choose a medical clinic, with certified practitioners, who use the highest quality products available – never opt for a clinic or practitioner based on price alone.
Here at The Private Clinic, we only use Allergan and Galderma fillers, which are of the highest quality products available worldwide. These fillers are not permanent, and are always administered by qualified Doctors and/or certified Nurses.
Are all Dermal Fillers the same?
There are over 160 Dermal Fillers on the market, which can be split into permanent, semi-permanent and temporary.
Permanent fillers are just that – permanent – and require surgical intervention for removal. Their active ingredients vary, but most of these type of fillers contain acrylic acid, which stimulates an inflammatory reaction within the skin, causing scar tissue to build up around the filler, locking it into place. The fact that permanent fillers rely on an inflammatory reaction makes them unpredictable both in their efficacy and in the possibility of complications.
Semi-permanent fillers contain collagen – these are now used quite rarely due to the necessity of a skin sensitivity test carried out a week prior to the procedure – or hyaluronic acid (such as Restylane and Juvederm, manufactured by Q-med, Galderma and Allergan).
At The Private Clinic, we only use tried, tested and proven products, and in this case we offer semi-permanent fillers (Restylane and Juvederm), which have an enormous amount of data supporting their safety. They usually last between 6-12 months.
What should I do before having my Dermal Fillers?
- It is vital for your safety that you visit a reputable clinic. A report from the NCEPOD in 2010 showed that there appeared to be a substantial turnover of cosmetic clinics, with 11.5% of companies listed having ceased trading since the time they were visited by patients. If you end up at one of those companies and have any future complications, you will have no one to turn to. You may not even be able to track down the person who performed your procedure.
- Ask who will be performing your treatment and how much experience they have. We believe that only healthcare professionals should be allowed to inject any substances into your body (Doctors or Prescribing Nurses).
- Always ask what type of fillers your practitioner will be using, whether permanent or temporary, so that you are able to make an informed decision, with the guidance of your healthcare professional. We believe that temporary fillers are safer and have more predictable results.
- If your practitioner uses a brand you don’t recognise, ask for more information about the manufacturing company.
What happens now?
The Independent Health Advisory Services (IHAS), The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPs), alongside some private healthcare providers (including The Private Clinic), is continuously putting pressure on the Government to introduce more stringent regulations.
We would like the Government to limit the ability to inject only to certified and qualified healthcare professionals, and that more standardised monitoring is in place to assess the products currently used and the safety of new fillers coming to the UK.
We would like to reassure all of our patients that we have always used the most reputable suppliers and products with the highest safety standards and history.