Dr Tim Papadopoulos, Specialist Plastic Surgeon, past president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) and now Board Director of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), explains what happens when you get too much dermal filler in your face.
While the commoditisation of these popular non-surgical procedures would have many believe they are risk-free, things can and do go wrong. In the hands of someone who doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of facial anatomy, an injection in the wrong spot can not only cause unwanted puffiness, in the most severe cases it can cause infection, nerve damage or even blindness.
However, when done correctly, they should look natural- they should still look like themselves, just more refreshed. Tell-tale signs of when a person has had too much filler are:
The Pillow Face
The Pillow Face results from overfilling in the cheeks and under the eyes. Full cheeks are associated with youthfulness. However, the use of too much filler results in overly puffy cheeks which look unnatural and inappropriate for their age. The pursuit of the “apple cheeks” have also contributed to this syndrome. Overfilling in the cheeks and under the eyes obliterates the natural lid-cheek junction. The whole mid-face becomes one continuous bulge, and the eyes become smaller, much like a pillow.
An Avatar Nose
Non-surgical nasal augmentation with fillers has become very common. An aesthetically beautiful nose has certain characteristics, such as well-proportioned angles, a sharp tip, a straight dorsum, and good front to back projection.
Unfortunately, with fillers, there is a tendency to do too much, especially on the bridge. This obliterates the nasofrontal angle (the angle between the forehead and the nose), resulting in an unnaturally high and broad nose bridge – like the blue Navi aliens in the movie “Avatar”.
A Bulging Forehead
Our foreheads, with the underlying bony skull, have natural contours – such as the eyebrow ridge. Respecting these contours is essential. For example, if you want to retain a natural look, you still need a flat or slightly concave area around a patient’s temples. Unfortunately, in a person who has had too much filler injected into this region, their temples become rounded making them look like they are about to burst. Nothing screams “I’ve had fillers” more than overly round facial contours.
A Witch’s Chin
A prominent, well-defined chin helps make a face more V-shaped and adds balance to the face. However, injecting too much filler into the chin will leave the patient with an overly pointy and sharp chin which can resembles a witch’s chin.
The Kardashians have taken contouring makeup to extremes – so why not create that highlight and shadow without makeup? When fillers are performed correctly, they can shape a patient’s cheekbones, giving them more structure and definition. However, when executed wrongly, they can create cheekbones that overly protrude resulting in a face that looks somewhat distorted or out of proportion.
Filler works by inflating a pocket or space under the skin. Once the filler is gone (whether absorbed back into the body or chemically dissolved), that space will become empty leaving the tissues in a more stretched out position (think of sucking out the beans from a bean bag leaving it with an excess, sagging bag. Over time, the filler can also stretch and weigh down the skin. This can lead to the need for more filler to be used in subsequent treatments.
How can you protect yourself from a bad result?
Most people don’t go to the trouble to educate themselves much on the cosmetic treatment they are having done, let alone ensuring that the medical practitioner they’ve chosen is appropriately qualified. With fillers being available in most shopping centres and beauty salons, there has been a detrimental downplaying to the risks involved with the treatment.
On another level, not every injectable practitioner has the aesthetic sensibilities to provide their patients with the best cosmetic result. Think about it- if you handed a paint brush to someone, not everyone could paint like Michelangelo or Leonardo de Vinci. The same applies with fillers. The good thing is that, as students of beauty, we can educate ourselves and improve our skills at recognising and enhancing the features of beauty in all of our patients. In other words, beauty can be learnt.
To provide those administering fillers with ongoing education opportunities and to ensure they are achieving the best results while ensuring the safety of their patients, the ASAPS created the Non-Surgical Symposium (NSS). The NSS is held annually in June and is the leading non-surgical event in Australasia aimed at those working in the cosmetic surgery industry.
The workshops and presentations from world-renowned experts provide delegates with a unique learning experience designed to increase their knowledge and skills, so that patient satisfaction is achieved every single time an injection is made.
Ask your injectable practitioner if they’ve attended the NSS to ensure you are being treated by someone who is dedicated to continued medical education and ensuring their skills are at the forefront of the industry they are working in.