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Medical Spa Dangers: Unapproved Dermal Fillers


You're putting WHAT in my face?! 

If there is one rule I repeat often to my patients and friends it is this: If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. One of the most alarming practices I have heard of while running my medical spa is the use of unapproved dermal fillers in patients. I'm not talking about using fillers like Restylane®, Juvederm®, Sculptra®, Radiesse® in unapproved locations in the face, no, I'm talking about the use of products that have no place in aesthetic dermal filling.

In my work I regularly come across industry insiders and pharmaceutical reps who spill some shady secrets of some cosmetic practitioners. The most shocking revelation I've heard is the use of knee injections as facial fillers. That's right, these knee injections known as 'viscosupplements' appear to be used by some cosmetic practitioners who are likely trying to increase their profit margin. Known by their brand names such as Orthovisc®, Synvisc®, Euflexxa® among others, these knee injections are also made up of hyaluronic acid gels similar to dermal fillers, but they are NOT the same.

It's not likely to be a health hazard per se, but the consistency and molecular weight of the knee injections' hyauluronic acid is not the same as those in dermal fillers. Thus giving sub-optimal results both in appearance and in longevity, as many of the knee injections can be reabsorbed by the body much quicker. This also eats up any potential cost savings as well. Rest assured this is not likely a widespread problem, but nonetheless, it is something to avoid.

How can you make sure this doesn't happen to you?

  1. Ask to see the package of dermal fillers. You don't have to come across as distrusting, just be curious. Make sure the package is new and opened up just for you. All these dermal fillers are packaged well with safety features.
  2. Avoid super inexpensive dermal filler deals. These products are expensive even for physicians to purchase, so an unbelievable deal may just trouble. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for just one syringe of dermal filler. 
  3. Any $99 deals are cutting corners somewhere. Either that or the practice is taking a massive loss (which would not be a common practice, even for marketing purposes).
  4. Always start with a consultation. Please make sure to have a consultation with any new practitioner prior to receiving any treatments. I have always offered free consultations to ease patients, help offer them education on a variety of treatments, and to explain my personal philosophy on cosmetic treatments. You should always listen to your guy and feel at ease with your cosmetic practitioner.

If you've ever had a nightmare experience while having cosmetic treatments done, please send us an email...we'd love to hear your stories.

Stay safe and enjoy this Holiday weekend! 
-Dr. David


  1. ummm I can't even imagine this... I've never seen the package at the office I go to... I will ask next time just to be sure. Thanks for this post... I think... I'm freaked out now.

  2. Excellent article!


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