Choosing the right injectable fillers to improve appearance

If you’re looking to reduce facial wrinkles or enhance your lips without surgery, you’re not alone. Increasingly, consumers are choosing non-surgical procedures that use injectable fillers to improve their appearance.


The fillers can diminish facial lines and plump up lips, as well as minimize expression lines and fill in acne scars. With a wide range of injectable fillers available, consumers must spend some time evaluating their options, says Gregory Branham, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Consumers need to decide not only which product to use but where to have the procedure performed.

Branham strongly encourages consumers to choose fillers approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to seek trained doctors that perform the procedures in a medical office setting.

A recent FDA report that evaluated injectable fillers has found that adverse events, while rare, do occur. The report only looked at FDA-approved fillers, not those brought into the country illegally, which are thought to increase the risks of the procedures.

Branham says that most of the side effects related to the injectable fillers were minor, such as redness, swelling and bruising at the injection site, all of which are temporary. But in rare cases, patients developed serious infections that required intravenous antibiotics and severe allergic reactions that required resuscitation.

“This is why people should not to take these types of procedures casually,” says Branham. “It’s important to be in a medical environment, with trained medical professionals around, so if there is an adverse effect, the appropriate treatment is readily available.”

For more information on how to ensure a safe experience with cosmetic fillers, visit the Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety Web site at