Dermal fillers have become a cornerstone in medical aesthetic treatments, primarily used to counteract volume loss, enhance facial features, and improve deep lines and skin folds. While they offer transformative results, it's essential to be aware of potential complications. One such rare but critical concern is dermal filler blindness.
Popular areas for dermal filler injections include:
Dermal filler blindness occurs when there's an adverse reaction following the injection of dermal fillers. This complication emerges when filler material unintentionally enters blood vessels, subsequently traveling to the retinal artery, leading to an obstruction. The consequence? An abrupt vision loss in the impacted eye.
The human face is intricately laced with blood vessels. During the injection of dermal fillers, especially in areas like the forehead, nose, and regions surrounding the eyes, there's a possibility of the needle puncturing a vessel. This means the filler, instead of going into the desired area, gets injected directly into these blood vessels. This filler can then travel and block crucial blood vessels, like the retinal artery in the eye.
The retinal artery is responsible for supplying blood to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This blood supply delivers essential oxygen and nutrients to the retinal cells, allowing them to function properly. When the retinal artery is blocked, the blood supply to the retina is disrupted. Without this vital supply of oxygen and nutrients, the retinal cells become deprived and can start to die off. This cell death can lead to irreversible damage to the retina and result in blindness.
The first case of dermal filler blindness after Aesthefill dermal filler injection was reported in the Straits Time on 12th September 2023.
AestheFill is a type of dermal filler based on injectable poly-D,L-lactic acid (PDLLA), developed by REGEN Biotech, Inc. in Seoul, South Korea. Gaining approval from the Korean FDA in 2014, it is specifically formulated to combat the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and volume loss.
What sets AestheFill apart from the usual Hyaluronic Acid fillers is its unique ability to stimulate collagen production, a vital protein that maintains skin's elasticity and firmness. As a biostimulator, AestheFill not only provides immediate volume enhancement but also encourages the skin to produce its own collagen for anti aging benefits.
This dual action—immediate filling and collagen stimulation is one of AestheFill's unique selling point.
Similar to other types of dermal fillers, blindness can occur if the Aesthefill dermal filler is accidentally injected into blood vessels, leading to blockage of these vessels. These blockages can prevent blood flow to the eyes, resulting in blindness or visual impairment.
Notably, AestheFill is a PDLLA-based dermal filler, setting it apart from Hyaluronic Acid fillers which can be dissolved using the enzyme hyaluronidase. As a result, complications or undesired outcomes from AestheFill can be potentially more challenging to manage and reverse.
Choose a Qualified Doctor: Always seek treatment from a qualified medical professional with experience in dermal filler injections. They should have a deep understanding of facial anatomy and potential risks.
Use a Cannula: Some doctors prefer using a blunt-tipped cannula instead of a needle for certain injection sites. Cannulas are less likely to penetrate blood vessels, reducing the risk of intravascular injection.
Avoid High-Risk Areas: Some areas of the face, such as the glabella (between the eyebrows) and the nose, have a higher risk of complications. Being extra cautious or avoiding fillers in these areas can reduce the risk.
Aspiration Technique: Before injecting the filler, the practitioner can pull back on the syringe plunger to check if the needle is in a blood vessel. If blood is drawn into the syringe, it indicates that the needle is inside a vessel, and the injection site should be adjusted.
Slow Injection: Administering the filler slowly can reduce the risk of complications. A rapid injection can increase the pressure inside the blood vessel, pushing the filler into the bloodstream.
Minimal Volume: Using the smallest effective volume of filler can reduce the risk of complications.
Knowledge of Danger Zones: The practitioner should be well-versed in the "danger zones" of the face where important blood vessels are located.
Immediate Action: If a patient experiences sudden pain, blanching, or any other unusual symptom during the injection, the procedure should be stopped immediately.
Post-Care Instructions: Patients should be informed about potential signs of complications and advised to seek immediate medical attention if they notice any unusual symptoms.
Dermal fillers, while generally considered safe when administered by qualified professionals, can still lead to a range of side effects. These side effects can vary from mild and temporary to more severe and long-lasting. Here's a description of potential side effects associated with dermal fillers:
It's essential to discuss potential side effects with a qualified doctor before undergoing any dermal filler treatment. While many of these side effects are temporary and can be managed, understanding the risks can help patients make informed decisions.