Dermal filler accidents continue despite multiple warnings

April 15, 2022 - 08:40

Despite multiple warnings about the dangers of getting dermal fillers at unauthorised facilities, Việt Đức Hospital is still seeing numerous cases.

A doctor attends to a patient who has suffered filler complications at Việt Đức Hospital. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Despite multiple warnings about the dangers of getting dermal fillers at unauthorised facilities, Việt Đức Hospital is still seeing numerous cases.

A 47-year-old woman in Chương Mỹ District, Hà Nội was recently admitted to the hospital’s emergency room following a cosmetic procedure. 

She was losing vision in her left eye, her pupils were dilated, and her nose and forehead were swollen due to cyanosis. She was also showing signs of convulsions, and her eyelid muscle was completely paralysed.

The woman was getting a nose filler at a local spa. Just 15 minutes after the injection, she experienced a fever, dizziness, and convulsions. 

This spa then administered another ‘medication’ to dissolve the filler in her body but to no avail. Four hours later, the patient was taken to Việt Đức (Việt Nam – Germany) Friendship Hospital.

Dr Nguyễn Hồng Hà, department head of Maxillofacial, Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery at the hospital said: “Upon admission, the patient was diagnosed with blood clotting, and was immediately given a brain CT scan and emergency treatment.

“Doctors of the Maxillofacial, Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Department had urgently worked with the Stroke and Medical imaging units, and invited doctors from the National Eye Hospital to treat the occlusion in the patient’s eye to avoid brain damage.”

Although injections she received were of unknown origins, medical staff are not certain if the treatment could be as effective as expected. 

While still experiencing headaches, the patient is now conscious and no longer paralysed, and signs of necrosis on her nose and forehead area have ceased. Her damaged vision is also improving from seeing nothing to being able to sense light. 

However, due to the complicated nature of the case, her recovery process remains uncertain and she is still in intensive care.

In March, Việt Đức Hospital received three emergency cases caused by filler injection complications. 

Among these, one experienced necrosis and cyanosis around the eye area but has made almost a full recovery. Another was in a coma and paralysed, and is now undergoing physical therapy.

In the most severe case, the patient lost their vision completely in both eyes but is showing signs of recovery.

Dr Hà said that most of the emergency admissions are people who had cosmetic procedures at local spas, or even at home with the help of a friend. Nearly all of them have no authorisation from the health ministry.

“Only trained physicians know the techniques and the anatomy of arteries and veins in the injection area to avoid damage to critical elements,” he said.

“For nose filler, in particular, this is the area with multiple ophthalmic arteries, so if the techniques are done wrong and the practitioners are not trained and skilled, they can easily pierce through these arteries. 

“Especially in the case where people want to get it done quickly or inject a large amount of filler into the artery, the substance can go straight to the brain or to the eye area. 

“If the filler goes into the brain, it can cause cerebral vascular occlusion, which leads to coma and limb paralysis. Entering the ophthalmic arteries, the substance can kill nerve cells and cause total blindness.

“If we miss the golden hour in an emergency, the patient can permanently lose the vision with no hope of recovery.”

Dr Hà also recommends that apart from controlling illegal filler substances and injection facilities, people need to stay vigilant when choosing cosmetic services. 

Like any other medical intervention, cosmetic procedures and surgeries all carry certain risks. Therefore, people need to select officially licensed practitioners and facilities, medical substances authorised by the health ministry, and stay informed to ensure their own safety. — VNS