A common target area for filler treatment is the cheeks. Since it takes up a good portion of the face, it's one of the earliest signs of aging skin as it's prone to sagging and wrinkles. Though it provides a youthful face, you may be hesitant to go through with the treatment if you have seen pictures of cheek swelling. Fortunately, it's a temporary side effect that passes very quickly.
So how long does swelling in the cheeks last after a dermal filler injection? Though uncommon in the cheeks, swelling can occur within 1 to 3 days after the dermal filler injection. It can still remain for up to 4 weeks. Consult your dermatologist if the swelling occurs for more than 2 weeks or if it reaches uncomfortable levels.
Swelling is the body’s reaction to the trauma caused by the injection. Though it may not be felt in the treatment due to its micro size and the use of anesthesia, the needle may inevitably come across one of the numerous blood vessels. The ones in the face, especially in the lips, are more susceptible to side effects like bruising and swelling because the blood vessels there are numerous within the soft tissue of the skin.
An expert injector knows the exact locations that need to be injected during a dermal filler treatment so the margin of error lessens. However, even an expert injector may still accidentally puncture a blood vessel because of the sensitive nature of the skin and the numerous tiny blood vessels it hosts. This is why a dermatologist may disallow certain habits or substances like blood thinners to lower the potential chance and effect of swelling.
The extent and duration of the swelling can be influenced by the blood flow and the size of the blood vessels. This is why dermatologists will recommend certain steps to control or prevent the amount of swelling that may develop after the dermal filler injection.
As with most side effects of dermal filler treatment, swelling can manifest in 1 to 3 days after the injection of facial filler and pass at around the same time. If it persists until 2 to 4 weeks even with home remedies and extensive periods of rest, consult your dermatologist immediately.
The duration is dependent on the patient’s skin condition, their habits, the amount of filler used, and the aftercare steps that are being taken in the case of swelling. However, more often than not, this can lessen with time and ample rest. A decrease in swelling can show that whatever minimal damage occurred in the filler treatment is slowly healed.
If the cheek swelling is indefinite and is accompanied by discomfort, heaviness, and redness, it may be a case of overfilling or using more dermal filler than what is required. Without surgery or a hyaluronidase injection, the overfilled patient must wait for a year or whenever it takes for the cheek to break down all the injected filler.
Swelling is just one of the other side effects that are to be expected within the 3 days after the treatment. Other common bodily reactions that are related to inflammation are:
However, given the deep injection area in the cheek, it can be difficult to gauge the extent of the side effects. For example, a major swelling can be hidden by the cheek’s volume, only surfacing as a small incident. Take note of any side effects that develop so that you may report them to your dermatologist.
Since swelling and its associated side effects are caused by inflammation, there are various remedies that can be easily done after the treatment to ease them. Follow them along with any additional steps by your dermatologist:
Though this method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation is mostly used to sport sprains, it can also be done for swelling, bruising, and redness in any of the treated areas in conjunction with other home remedies.
Though there is no required downtime for a dermal filler treatment, it is still recommended to keep your schedule free a few days afterward in case any side effects or complications may occur. On a mental level, it helps you take your mind off of other stressful things, helping you focus on your skin recovery.
If the swelling, discomfort, and pain start to rise to a noticeable level, it is applicable to apply a cold compress on the affected area. This will slow the blood flow and constrict the blood vessels there, slowing down the growth and sensation of any side effects. It is recommended to apply an ice pack 3 to 4 times a day, 15 minutes each time.
At the end of the day, there is another action you can take to boost the healing process of the skin: sleeping on your stomach with an extra pillow behind your head. This will help increase the blood flow in a subtle but effective way so that the skin can heal faster.
Feeding the skin with essential vitamins like vitamins E and C and ample amounts of water will retain its supple texture and smooth sheen. Other consumables like those high in sugar or salt and alcohol will only slow down the skin’s healing process—extending the effects and duration of any swelling in the face.
These are herbal supplements that can be taken after the treatment to help reduce the effects of inflammation. Arnica is a herb that comes in either oil or tablet form that can be taken before the treatment. Meanwhile, bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice that can be taken to reduce swelling among a whole list of health benefits.
While aftercare is a crucial step of the treatment, prevention is the best way to reduce the likelihood of any uncomfortable symptoms. Consult with your dermatologists if you need to follow any other additional steps suited for your skin condition.
Blood thinners are consumables that greatly improve blood circulation like aspirin, garlic, ginseng, St. John’s Wort, and fish oil. However, these should not be taken for at least a week before the treatment. If you are in need of a painkiller, use Tylenol instead.
Alcohol should not be digested three days before the dermal filler injection. It is a diuretic, which means it takes nutrients and water from other organs in the body, like the skin. It will also change the size of the blood vessels—making bruising and swelling easier to appear.
Salty snacks or those high in sodium content should also be well avoided for about a week before the dermal filler injection. Just like alcohol, it will dehydrate the body without drinking an adequate amount of water to match it. Consider balancing your diet with leafy green vegetables and other healthy snacks in preparation for the treatment.
Swelling cheeks are an anticipated side effect of the treatment and cause no serious worry even if it goes past 3 weeks. If you are vulnerable to swelling and other symptoms of inflammation, it's best you receive a cheek filler treatment from the best experts in town to prevent any complications and to get the best care possible.
At Dr. Lanna Aesthetics, you can plump up and volumize your cheeks with the help of NYC’s best dermal filler expert. Led by Dr. Lanna, who has done over 10,000 successful treatments, we have state-of-the-art technology and dermatological expertise for every kind of dermal filler treatment. Call us now at (929) 565-7539 to book an appointment.