Dr. John LeRoy, Plastic Surgeon in Atlanta Georgia


Ask Dr. LeRoy: How Safe are Facial Cosmetic Injectables?

These days, it seems as if everyone is getting a little something injected for the purpose of looking younger. According to both the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the #1 most popular cosmetic procedure in the US is botulinum toxin injections (like Botox® and Dysport®), and #2 is dermal fillers (like Restylane®, Juvéderm®, Radiesse®, and more). Both of these treatments offer minimally invasive ways to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and their immense popularity comes from their convenience (typically a 15- or 30-minute treatment with no downtime), consistently successful results, and suitability for nearly anyone. But, at the same time, the idea of facial injections sounds understandably scary to many patients. So, in truth, how safe are botulinum toxin and filler injections?

Ask Dr. LeRoy How Safe are Facial Cosmetic Injectables

The safety of cosmetic injectables ultimately comes down to your provider. Cosmetic injections are true medical procedures, so it’s important to recognize the seriousness of feeling confident in the person performing them. If you’re receiving your botulinum toxin or facial filler injections from a qualified medical professional, such as a board-certified plastic surgeon, the side effects are expected to be very mild and temporary, and the risk of serious side effects is extremely low. For most patients, the side effects are limited to mild swelling and bruising, and they generally fade within a week.

However, your risk factors change dramatically when your injections are being performed by someone who is not properly qualified and educated. Serious side effects are often caused by the product being injected incorrectly or injected into an area where it shouldn’t be, such as into a blood vessel. While a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation has extensive knowledge of your complex facial anatomy, so that they can inject the products into the precise areas for maximum safety and effectiveness, there are many people who deliver these injections without having the knowledge they need to do it correctly.

Another important factor in keeping your cosmetic facial injections safe and effective is ensuring that you are receiving the true product. Sadly, there are companies who produce counterfeit versions of popular products like Botox® and Restylane®. There are also versions of these products that are produced abroad and are not FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness. Reputable board-certified plastic surgeons will allow you to see the bottle before they perform your injections so that you know you’re getting the right product, and they have the experience to know not to use inauthentic products. However, when you go to a provider who is not qualified, you also increase the likelihood of getting an inferior or potentially dangerous product injected, as these people often do not have the authorization to purchase the genuine products.

While this article has focused on a single type of treatment, the same principle holds true for any cosmetic procedure—seeing a true board-certified plastic surgeon can provide you with excellent results and an extremely low risk factor, while getting treated by an unqualified provider is never worth the risk. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re ready to take the next step toward a safe and effective treatment with cosmetic injectables, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more plastic surgery tips, join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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