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How To Safely Remove Cheek Fillers

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You were chasing plump, youthful cheeks when you got those hyaluronic acid fillers injected into your face. But now, you cringe at the sight of your filled-out face in photos and can't recognize yourself in the mirror anymore. Those chipmunk cheeks have got to go. 

Take heart - removing those cheek fillers is possible! In this article, we'll walk through everything you need to know about dissolving away filler regrets - from what to expect during the removal process and aftercare to approximate costs. 

Bid farewell to that puffy-cheeked stranger and say hello to a more familiar visage.

Cheek Fillers: Can They Be Removed?

cheek filler treatment

The most common cheek fillers today are made from a naturally occurring sugar molecule called hyaluronic acid. The great benefit of these fillers is that they can be gradually dissolved and absorbed by the body when injected with an enzyme called hyaluronidase.

Hyaluronidase breaks down the filler into water and glycolic acid so it dissipates over time. Unlike other types of permanent or semi-permanent fillers, hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved and removed completely with minimal side effects.

Some of the most popular brands of hyaluronic acid-based fillers for the cheeks include:

ProductIndications
Juvederm VolumaCheek augmentation, mid-face shaping, correction of age-related volume loss in the cheeks
Juvederm Ultra PlusCheek augmentation, correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, lip augmentation
Juvederm Ultra XCCheek augmentation, correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds around nose and mouth, lip augmentation
RestylaneMid-face volumizing, cheek augmentation, correction of nasolabial folds
Restylane LyftCheek augmentation, correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, lip augmentation
Restylane-LLip augmentation and wrinkle correction around mouth

Walkthrough of the Cheek Filler Removal Procedure

The process for dissolving cheek fillers is relatively quick and straightforward when performed by an experienced cosmetic provider:

  1. The skin is cleaned and prepped with an antiseptic solution to prevent infection. A topical anesthetic cream may also be applied to numb the area and make the injections more comfortable.
  2. Hyaluronidase is then injected into the cheeks using a very fine needle. Your provider will guide the needle to the precise areas where filler was previously injected.
  3. After the injections, your provider may massage the area in smooth circular motions. This helps evenly distribute and break down the filler.
  4. Some temporary redness, swelling, or bruising around the injection sites is normal initially as the filler begins dissolving. Ice packs can provide relief and reduce swelling in the first 24 hours.
  5. Depending on how much filler was used, more than one hyaluronidase treatment may be required to fully remove it. Effects are gradual and not instantaneous.

What Precautions Can Minimize Side Effects and Risks?

Potential side effects from the removal process are usually mild and temporary. They include swelling, bruising, redness, and sometimes a feeling of lumpiness in the cheeks as the filler breaks down. Infection is also a low risk with any injection.

There are a few key precautions you can take to make the removal process as safe and comfortable as possible:

  • Go to an experienced, licensed provider who follows strict protocols to prevent infection. Carefully follow all post-procedure instructions they provide.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or massaging the treated area for at least 24 hours after injections. Let the area rest initially.
  • Use cold compresses as needed to reduce swelling and tenderness. Ibuprofen can also help.
  • Most redness and swelling resolves within 5-7 days. Contact your provider immediately if you have severe, persistent pain or swelling.

Recovery Timeline and Self-Care Tips

Recovery after cheek filler removal is relatively quick:

TimepointExpected Recovery
Immediately after treatmentRedness, swelling, tenderness or bruising at injection sites
Day 1Swelling may peak
Days 2-3Swelling should start improving, bruising may appear more noticeable
Days 4-7Bruising and swelling continue to subside, lumpiness or unevenness should start improving
1-2 weeksMost swelling, bruising and tenderness resolved, mild lumpiness may remain
2-4 weeksFiller fully dissolved and absorbed, area should look and feel smooth

Some of the self-care tips that you can follow include: 

  1. Use cold compresses (a cloth dipped in cold water or wrapped ice pack) as needed the first 2-3 days to reduce swelling.
  2. Avoid strenuous exercise, consumption of alcohol, steam rooms and saunas for 24-48 hours after treatment.
  3. Sleep face up and slightly elevated on pillows the first few nights. Avoid sleeping directly on the treated area.
  4. Avoid massaging, rubbing, applying makeup or wearing glasses on the treated area until swelling has resolved.
  5. Take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed for discomfort.
  6. Avoid extended sun exposure until any bruising or swelling has resolved. Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen.
  7. Drink plenty of water and eat fresh pineapple or bromelain supplements to help decrease bruising.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Filler Removal

The overall cost of cheek filler removal can vary considerably based on several factors:

FactorDescription
Amount of filler originally injectedThe more filler present, the longer and more complicated the removal process may be.
Experience and technique of the providerHighly skilled injectors charge more but may achieve better results with fewer sessions.
Type of filler usedSome fillers naturally dissolve faster than others when injected with hyaluronidase.
Number of treatment sessions neededIt’s hard to predict exactly how many will be required for complete removal.
Geographic location and clinic feesPrices are usually higher in major metro areas and premium clinics.

Are There Available Alternatives To Cheek Fillers?

While dermal fillers offer the most dramatic plumping and sculpting effects on the cheeks, some more subtle options can provide milder improvements without injections. 

Using topical products with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinol may temporarily firm and plump the skin's surface. 

Procedures like microneedling, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing can stimulate collagen and improve tone and elasticity over time. 

Regular facial exercises that work the cheek muscles, like sucking in or inflating the cheeks, may temporarily lift and tone sagging areas. 

However, these non-injectable alternatives typically don't match the youthful volume replacement and reduction of deep wrinkles possible with dermal fillers. Those interested in recontouring their cheeks should discuss all their options with a cosmetic provider.

Choosing A Specialist For Safe and Effective Filler Removal

Choosing the right specialist is crucial for safe and successful filler removal. Do your research to find an experienced, reputable provider you can trust, such as:

Credentials and Trainings

Check credentials like board certification, medical licenses, and specialty training. Confirm the provider is a licensed physician, preferably a plastic surgeon or dermatologist who specializes in facial procedures.

Expertise and Experience

Look for proven expertise specifically in filler injections and removals. Ask how many filler procedures they have performed and their complication rate. Preferably they should have years of specialized experience.

Reviews and Referrals

Read reviews and ask for referrals to find a specialist praised for their artistry, care, and results. Ask to see before and after photos of their work.

Techniques

Inquire about their precise technique and process for assessments, injections, and post-procedure care. Each face is unique.

Safety Protocols

Ask about safety protocols to prevent infection, bruising, or other side effects. What precautions do they take? Do they use cannulas instead of needles?

Transparency 

Discuss risks, potential complications, and their plan for addressing issues if they arise. Choose a specialist who is transparent about risks and has experience managing rare complications.

Vetting specialists thoroughly upfront is the best way to avoid complications from poorly placed fillers. Take time to carefully select an experienced, reputable provider you can trust for natural looking results.

Choose Dr. Lanna Aesthetics, Facial Rejuvenation Specialists

cheek filler results

Led by Dr. Lanna Cheuck, Dr. Lanna Aesthetics provides advanced filler treatments, injectables, laser therapy, and other facial rejuvenation services. With over 10,000 successful procedures completed, Dr. Lanna is renowned for her expertise in liquid facelifts, fillers, Botox, and treatments for natural-looking enhancement. 

Dr. Lanna and her talented team are committed to helping each patient look and feel their best. To learn more or schedule a personalized consultation, visit doctorlanna.com today.

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