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How To Prevent Vascular Complications During Cheek Filler Injections

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Strategies to Avoid Hitting a Blood Vessel When Placing Cheek Fillers

Cheek fillers offer an effective and minimally invasive way to restore lost volume to the midface and achieve more sculpted, youthful cheekbones. When performed correctly by an expert injector, dermal fillers in the cheeks can beautifully enhance facial contours and proportions.

However, all fillers carry some risk for undesired effects like bruising, swelling or vascular complications if accidentally injected into a blood vessel. This makes proper technique and an in-depth understanding of facial anatomy essential for the provider.

The Risks of Injecting Fillers Into a Blood Vessel

cheek filler treatment

When filler is inadvertently injected into an artery or vein in the face, it can cause a vascular occlusion by blocking blood flow. The compromised blood supply can lead to ischemia and potential necrosis (tissue death) in the area.

Vascular complications from cheek fillers are very rare in the hands of an experienced injector. According to a study, the incidence of vascular occlusion appears to be 3 out of 1000 injections. However, they can result in serious adverse effects like:

  • Vision loss or blindness if the occlusion affects the ophthalmic artery supplying the eye
  • Stroke-like symptoms if branches of the facial artery are blocked
  • Skin necrosis causing scarring or disfigurement of the skin

Other symptoms of vascular occlusion include:

  • Severe pain and tenderness in the injected area
  • Bruising or skin discoloration
  • Swelling and lumping under the skin

Though hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm, Restylane and others have an excellent short-term safety profile, injected filler particles can still potentially block blood flow, cutting off oxygen to tissues.

This makes proper injection technique absolutely crucial for patient safety and satisfaction.

Key Safety Measures for Facial Filler Injections

All medical aesthetic treatments carry some inherent risks, even non-surgical ones like dermal fillers. But the risks of adverse events can be minimized by:

Choosing an Experienced, Licensed Provider

The most crucial safety factor is choosing a provider thoroughly trained and experienced in administering facial fillers. They should have comprehensive knowledge of facial anatomy to avoid blood vessels and nerves.

An ideal provider will be:

  • A licensed healthcare professional like a dermatologist, plastic surgeon or nurse injector
  • Board-certified by the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery or similar board
  • Trained extensively in proper injection techniques for avoiding vascular complications
  • Equipped to address any rare adverse events should they occur
  • Up to date on the latest techniques and filler technologies

Opt for a provider who specializes in facial rejuvenation and has significant experience specifically with dermal fillers, not someone who offers them as a side service. Don’t compromise safety for discounted prices at med spas or salons.

Using Proper Injection Technique

Skillful technique is key to ensuring filler is deposited in the appropriate facial planes and avoiding inadvertent intravascular injection. Experienced injectors will:

  • Advance the needle slowly and carefully, using the least amount of pressure needed
  • Aspirate (pull back) on the syringe periodically to check for blood return before injecting
  • Inject small amounts of filler at a time, continually assessing the area before adding more
  • Stop immediately if the patient experiences any sudden pain or whitening of the skin

Proper technique greatly reduces the risk of accidentally sealing off blood vessels with filler.

Employing Test Areas and Observing Patients

Reputable providers will do test injections of tiny amounts of filler in less risky areas like the forehead or hand. They closely observe patients for any worrying signs like pain, whitening or mottling of the skin before continuing with treatment.

Patients should also let their provider know immediately if they feel any discomfort during the procedure. Sudden onset of pain could indicate entry into a blood vessel.

Obtaining Patient Consent

Ethical providers will fully inform patients of all potential side effects - both common and rare - and obtain consent before treatment. Patients should notify their provider of any pre-existing conditions like bleeding disorders that could increase risks of bruising or other complications.

Don't Compromise on Safety - Contact a Skilled, Experienced Professional Like Dr. Lanna for Your Treatment.

Dr. Lanna's Precise Technique for Safe Cheek Filler Injections

Now that we’ve covered some essential safety strategies, let’s look at how Dr. Lanna specifically avoid blood vessels during cheek enhancement with fillers:

Selecting Injection Sites Carefully

The cheeks present a higher risk zone for intravascular injection than other areas of the face. Blood vessels here include branches of the transverse facial artery, infraorbital artery and zygomatico-orbital artery.

To reduce risks, Dr. Lanna avoid the following high-risk areas:

  • Directly over the main branches of the facial artery pulsating on the face
  • The inferior medial cheek close to the nose where vessels are abundant
  • Nearby the infraorbital foramen and artery laterally

The safest areas for cheek injection are zones with fewer large blood vessels like the subcutaneous fat pad centrally and the higher cheekbones.

Using Blunt-Tip Cannulas

These flexible micro-cannulas with blunt, rounded tips can help avoid penetrating blood vessels in the danger zones. They move smoothly through tissue planes with less risk of vascular injury compared to sharp needles.

Cannulas may reduce bruising and are ideal for the novice injector still perfecting their technique.

Aspirating Frequently

Dr. Lanna draws back slightly on the plunger of the syringe to check for any blood return before injecting. Blood drawback indicates the needle has penetrated a vessel and she will reposition before trying again.

Depositing Filler Slowly in Small Amounts

Rather than injecting large boluses of filler rapidly, Dr. Lanna adds gradual layers with light pressure on the plunger. This allows greater control so the injection can be stopped if any blood return is seen.

Small volume injections also limit the amount of filler that could enter a blood vessel to cause occlusion.

Analyzing Patient Feedback

She closely monitors the patient for any signs of discomfort, pain, whitening or irregularities during the procedure. Patients can notify Dr. Lanna immediately if they feel any strange sensations.

This feedback helps identify any potential entry into blood vessels before additional filler is added.

Planning Conservative Volumes

Overzealous correction with excessive filler is more likely to put pressure on or block nearby delicate blood vessels. Dr. Lanna employs a conservative approach with lower volumes appropriate to the anatomy that reduces this risk.

She aims to achieve beautiful, natural-looking enhancement without overfilling the cheeks beyond what is aesthetically ideal for the individual.

See How Dr. Lanna's Cautious Precision Places Fillers Safely to Sculpt Your Ideal Cheeks. Set Your Appointment Today!

Tips to Minimize Your Risks and Have the Best Cheek Filler Experience

While your chosen injector bears the brunt of responsibility for safe technique, you also play a key role in minimizing risks for optimal outcomes. Here are some tips when considering cheek fillers:

  1. Set Realistic Expectations
    Understand that dermal fillers have limitations. While skilfully placed filler can help restore lost volume and contour cheeks, it has its limits. Discuss goals with Dr. Lanna to determine if fillers can address your particular concerns.
  2. Follow Pre and Post-Procedure Instructions
    Properly preparing for treatment and caring for your skin afterward reduces risks like swelling, bruising or infection. Avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin before treatment per instructions.
  3. Avoid Touching or Massaging the Area
    It takes 2-4 weeks for filler to settle into position, so avoid rubbing, massaging or applying pressure to the area which could displace it. This also minimizes risks of pushing filler into blood vessels.
  4. Monitor for Concerning Symptoms
    While rare, contact Dr. Lanna and her team immediately if you experience sudden severe pain, changes in vision, skin color changes, excessive bruising or swelling or other issues after your treatment. Prompt evaluation and possible hyaluronidase injection to dissolve the filler may be needed.
  5. Have a Follow-Up Appointment
    Schedule a follow-up 2-4 weeks after your injections to assess the results so far and check for any irregularities. Additional touch up filler can be added at this time if desired.
  6. Consider Alternatives
    Discuss options like nonsurgical skin tightening, thread lifts, or even surgical lifts if fillers alone won’t fully address your concerns. Combination treatments are sometimes optimal for facial rejuvenation.

Get Your Best Cheeks Safely with Dr. Lanna Aesthetics

cheek filler treatment

Dr. Lanna Aesthetics, led by renowned facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lanna Cheuck, offers cheek filler injections performed to the highest standards of safety and care. Patients rave about the natural, beautiful enhancements achieved through Dr. Cheuck's artistry with fillers.

Dr. Cheuck only uses FDA-approved dermal fillers with proven safety records like the Juvederm and Restylane families. She adheres to strict safety protocols before, during and after treatment. Combining her keen aesthetics and meticulous technique, Dr. Lanna consistently achieves gorgeous cheek enhancement without an overdone look.

To learn more about achieving your best cheeks safely, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lanna today. Discover why patients trust her expertise for facial rejuvenation with natural-looking results and minimal risks.

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