Friday, January 28, 2022

How To Do It, Before and Afters, Risks and More

  • Hyaluronic acid lip filler effects can be reversed using hyaluronidase, an injectable solution 
  • Silicone lip fillers are considered permanent and require more invasive treatment
  • There are no established procedures for removing fillers at home
  • Depending on the filler, it can cost between $150–$500 to have fillers removed

Hyaluronic acid lip fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane temporarily add volume and fullness to lips and smooth lip wrinkles. Lip filler removal becomes a consideration when the outcome is unsatisfactory and the patient wishes to reverse the effects. 

Fortunately, lip filler removal is relatively straightforward for hyaluronic acid fillers; they are dissolved using hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down the filler to quickly reverse the effects.

How Long Do Dermal Fillers Take to Dissolve Naturally?

The most popular lip fillers contain hyaluronic acid, a carbohydrate that is naturally produced in the body. Over time, these fillers are metabolized by the body, a process that normally takes 3–6 months.

Collagen is another lip filler, and is also a natural compound found in the body. It is metabolized over the course of 3 months. However, current fillers are sourced from animals and have the potential for causing allergic and inflammatory reactions, therefore these lip fillers have fallen out of favor. 

Some lip fillers are permanent, such as liquid silicone, a synthetic polymer. These types of fillers are not FDA-approved for lip augmentation, and much controversy surrounds using them for this purpose. Silicone fillers cannot be dissolved, nor completely removed surgically. Treatment is typically a long and difficult process as the silicone absorbs into the lip muscle and skin.   

How to Remove Lip Fillers Fast

Hyaluronic acid lip fillers are the only fillers that can be dissolved quickly and with minimal discomfort. Silicone fillers are not reversible and invasive treatments are required to treat complications of this type of filler.

By injection

Hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved with injections of an enzyme called hyaluronidase. A numbing agent is first applied and once injected, it immediately begins to dissolve hyaluronic acid’s molecular bonds. This action continues over the course of 24–48 hours, depending on the quantity and depth of the filler, as well as the concentration.  

Surgically

Silicone filler removal focuses on addressing granulomas, inflammatory lumps that form because the body perceives the filler as a foreign substance. Bumps and swelling can continue to form over time to cause an uneven appearance with accompanying sensations of burning, pain and inflammation. 

Surgical removal is considered a second-line option as it is impossible to fully excise filler that has invaded surrounding tissue. Surgery is therefore limited to the lumps that form over time making this a long-term process, and increases the risk of complications, infections and scarring.

First-line treatment of silicone lip fillers involves corticosteroid injections; systemic treatment also involves higher doses to prevent granulomas from spreading or recurring.  

Can I Dissolve My Lip Fillers At Home?

No, you can not dissolve lip fillers at home. Anecdotal evidence suggests that massaging your lips after hyaluronic acid filler may help it break down at a slightly faster rate, but this method has not been scientifically proven, and effective results are questionable.

What Are the Risks?

Hyaluronidase injections are considered to be a safe and reliable treatment, however, there are still some risks. Minor and common effects include temporary bruising and swelling at the injection site; the most serious risk is that of an allergic reaction, which causes redness, itching, and pain.

As silicone lip fillers cannot be completely removed, surgery is limited to the lumps that form over time, making this a long process and increases the risk of complications such as:

  • Infection
  • Minor bleeding
  • Pain and swelling after surgery
  • Scarring

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of lip filler removal will vary greatly depending on your geographic location and care provider.  A single treatment of hyaluronidase (sold under the brand names of Vitrase and Hylenex) can cost anywhere between $150–$500. If you have a significant amount of filler in your lips, repeat treatments may be necessary.

Treatment costs for silicone lip filler will depend on the specific treatment you receive, the number of treatments and the condition of your lips.  

Takeaway

Hyaluronic acid lip fillers are currently the most popular fillers as the results are temporary, reversible and proven safe since hyaluronic acid is found naturally within the body.  

These lip fillers can be safely dissolved using hyaluronidase injections which effectively breaks down the filler over a period of  24–48 hours. The length of time will vary depending on the quantity and depth of the filler. This is a fast-acting and safe procedure with minimal side effects.

Fillers containing synthetic ingredients, such as silicone cannot be completely removed from the lips as the surrounding tissue absorbs the filler. Bumps and inflammation can occur which requires a combination of corticosteroid injections and oral therapy, as well as surgical removal.

Sources

  • De Boulle, K., Glogau, R., Kono, T., Nathan, M., Tezel, A., Roca-Martinez, J.-X., Paliwal, S. and Stroumpoulis, D. (2013), A Review of the Metabolism of 1,4-Butanediol Diglycidyl Ether–Crosslinked Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers. Dermatol Surg, 39: 1758-1766. https://doi.org/10.1111/dsu.12301
  • Cockerham K, Hsu VJ. Collagen-based dermal fillers: past, present, future. Facial Plast Surg. 2009 May;25(2):106-13. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1220650
  • Jung H. Hyaluronidase: An overview of its properties, applications, and side effects. Arch Plast Surg. 2020 Jul;47(4):297-300. doi:10.5999/aps.2020.00752
  • Lee JM, Kim YJ. Foreign body granulomas after the use of dermal fillers: pathophysiology, clinical appearance, histologic features, and treatment. Arch Plast Surg. 2015;42(2):232-239. doi:10.5999/aps.2015.42.2.232
  • Haneke E. Managing Complications of Fillers: Rare and Not-So-Rare. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2015;8(4):198-210. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.172191
  • Landau M. Hyaluronidase Caveats in Treating Filler Complications. Dermatol Surg. 2015 Dec;41 Suppl 1:S347-53. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000000555
  • King M, Convery C, Davies E. This month’s guideline: The Use of Hyaluronidase in Aesthetic Practice (v2.4). J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(6):E61-E68. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6011868/

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