NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A popular cosmetic procedure can cause serious injuries including blindness and death. Millions of people get filler injections each year.
While serious injuries are rare, they can be devastating.
“That’s how I used to be, before the nightmare,” said Carol Bryan, referring to pictures before she went to a doctor to get filler injections. “I had a bad reaction.”
Bryan’s case is extreme, but it’s not unprecedented.
Fillers are a soft, moldable product injected under the skin.
Designed to plump and smooth, the results can be impressive, but serious injuries can happen if filler is accidently injected into a blood vessel creating a blockage, and the FDA has a long list of possible risks, everything from bruising and infections to stroke and blindness.
“You can inject into your cheek and you can inject right by your nose and if it gets in the right blood vessel, it can go back up and find its way behind your eye,” said Dr. Bryan Gawley.
Gawley is a plastic surgeon and he has concerns because under FDA recommendations, injections should only be done by licensed health care professionals, but there is no mandatory training.
“If you remember from biology, if you get an injection into a blood vessel that’s highly upstream, it’s going to block off all those blood vessels downstream and can cause some very significant trauma loss to the face,” said Gawley.
You can imagine his reaction when News4 showed him this new trend.
“Her whole lip could die, and guess what, when your lip dies, you can’t fix it.”
This pen can be bought online. No needles, instead it uses high pressure to shoot filler into your lips. Dermal fillers are a medical device regulated by the FDA.
This pen is not.
News4 had some questions for the manufacturer in China but couldn’t reach them.
The paperwork claims there’s a 24-hour help line, but there’s no phone number and the web address printed on the paperwork doesn’t work. The directions encourage people to watch YouTube. Gawley said don’t.
“You know one of the things that can break skin down is high pressure,” said Gawley.
The FDA said serious injuries from filler are rare, but they are increasing. Experts said if you’re going to get filler, make sure it’s with a licensed health care professional.
Before they inject, find out exactly what kind of training they have received.