Potential Risks and Complications of Restylane

Restylane injections have been used in the cosmetic industry worldwide since 1996. After FDA approval in 2003, Restylane treatments became very popular in the U.S. as well. Restylane is a hyaluronic acid, a compound naturally occurring in the human body, manufactured from streptococci bacteria. Since Restylane does not contain any animal proteins, like other dermal fillers, it rarely causes allergic reactions. However, as with any injection treatment, the Restylane procedure has its possible side effects, complications and risks.

You need to thoroughly discuss pre- and post-care instructions with your doctor, as well as your medical history and all medications you take, to minimize these conditions. The most common advice is not to use any non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) 10 days prior to the Restylane procedure. You should also not use other medications, such as Gingko Biloba, vitamin E or St-John Wart.

Side Effects and Complications

  • Redness: it can occur at the site of injection. It usually disappears in a matter of hours, but can stay for as long as a week.
  • Swelling: it may occur mostly when larger areas are treated, for example, with lip augmentation. It has a tendency to go away without any additional treatment in a week. However, if swelling persists or becomes painful, medical treatment may be necessary
  • Bleeding and bruising: it most often occurs after treatment of tear troughs (dark circles under the eyes) because this area is filled with tiny blood vessels. As a result of the injection, these vessels may be broken and bleed under the skin. Bruising may last as long as a couple of weeks, but it can be concealed with make-up and treated with special topic lotions.
  • Asymmetry of the face: this can be corrected with additional filling on the under-filled side of the face or by injection of Hyaluronidase, an enzyme which speeds up the breakdown of hyaluronic acid by the body. The same technique is used in case of over-correction.

Serious Risks

Although allergies to bacteria protein is rare, 1 in 2000 people are prone to these allergies. Those with a history of having severe allergic reactions with anaphylactic shock and being allergic to gram-positive bacterial proteins should seek alternative treatments.

Infections may occur with any injection, though they are not common. However, the appearance of the Herpes simple virus is the most common of these uncommon reactions. Sometimes additional treatment by anti-viral medications and/or antibiotics is required.

Scarring may be caused by Restylane injections as well. Individuals with a tendency to have keloid or hypertrophic scarring should avoid Restylane treatment. Granulomas are not common with Restylane injections, but there is still a risk of having them. In this case, additional treatment, such as surgery, may be needed

Restylane treatments are not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, since there is not enough data on what affect Restylane has on the developing fetus, or what amount (if any) manifests itself in mother's milk. If you have done laser treatments or chemical peeling, it is advised not to perform Restylane treatment until your skin is totally healed (4-6 weeks).

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