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Getting filler dissolved: here's what you need to know

Want to tweak or even start afresh with your facial or lip filler? Here's what to expect, the benefits and the potential risks

You were excited about getting facial fillers but are now disappointed with the results. Maybe you went to a poorly trained practitioner and have been left with unsightly lumps and bumps, or maybe the filler has migrated to other parts of your face, making you look a bit odd.

However, you needn't worry as there is an effective and safe way to dissolve your filler.

Why should you get your filler dissolved?

Facial and lip fillers have become hugely popular over the last decade, largely due to the likes of the Kardashians, influencer and celebrity culture, along with the fact they are now so accessible on the high street. However, fillers have become both admired and demonised by the press, with pictures of celebrities with overstuffed pillowy cheeks, trout pouts and duck lips. Injecting isn’t a perfect science, and under experienced and/or under qualified practitioners can over-fill certain areas, leading to an undesired, unnatural look, or inject fillers into the wrong facial contours.

How is filler dissolved?

Hyaluronic acid-based (HA) fillers can be dissolved using an enzyme called hyaluronidase, or Hyalase.  The solution works by breaking up the bonds that hold the HA molecules together and encourages the body to reabsorb them. However, this prescription-only drug can only be administered in a clinical environment in highly skilled and qualified hands, and only after a consultation and patch test. Results depend on which filler was originally used and how much it has built up over time – sometimes more than one session of hyaluronidase may be needed. It’s possible to partially dissolve filler without dissolving all of it, if a simple adjustment is what you need to soften your look.

What should I expect?

The practitioner will use a needle to gently administer the hyaluronidase. Expect it to sting slightly and there may be some swelling and possibly some bruising for 48-72 hours; after that there shouldn’t be any further discomfort. The filler will start to break down and soften immediately, although depending on the location and how much needs to be dissolved, it may take up to two weeks for it to completely dissolve and settle back to natural.

Are there any risks?

While there have been reports of people saying they have noticed a more hollow look following the dissolving process, in theory hyaluronidase does not dissolve the hyaluronic acid that is naturally present in your skin, as this is broken down and replaced every day while the skin goes about its own maintenance. As dissolving filler is as much of a skill as injecting it in the first place, it pays to see a highly qualified practitioner for a safe and successful procedure.

Can I get filler again in the same area?

Lots of patients have their filler dissolved, often to erase the previous work and get back to a blank canvas. Once the filler is completely dissolved and swelling has subsided – usually after about two weeks – it is safe to have filler injected again in the same area.

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