Are Collagen Fillers Safe?

Collagen is a natural body protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness.
Collagen is a natural body protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness.

The injection of the collagen fillers is a safe procedure but only when it is performed by a licensed and experienced healthcare professional. Bellafill is the only FDA approved collagen filler available in the United States.

The injection of the collagen filler at sites, other than the face and the back of the hands is not backed by the FDA, and therefore, it is not recommended. It is unsafe to inject the collagen fillers at the other sites like the buttocks for the augmentation of the breast size or body contouring.

Self-injection of collagen products must never be attempted. The safety of collagen fillers in individuals below 18 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women is not yet established. The long-term safety of any collagen filler injection is unproven.

Improper collagen filler use can lead to long term pain, infections, scarring, and permanent disfigurement. Fatal side effects like the blockage of a blood vessel by a clot or onset of a stroke may also be seen.

Collagen injection may not be a safe procedure for you if:

What are collagen fillers?

Collagen is a natural body protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. After a particular age, the body stops producing collagen, and this makes you prone to the signs of aging like wrinkles and facial sagging.

Injecting collagen fillers into the skin is a quick fix to achieve a more youthful and radiant look at a fraction of the cost of a facelift. The collagen fillers may be safely used to correct moderate to deep facial wrinkles and folds along with the nose and lips.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved injecting collagen fillers in the face and back of the hand. These can be used to reduce crow’s feet around eyes, mouth, and forehead to reduce frown lines. It is also used for smoothing fine depressions over the face and reducing acne scars. It can plump up the lips, lift sunken cheeks, and smooth out wrinkles at the back of the hand.

Collagen injections (commercially known as Bellafill) is a cosmetic procedure done by injecting collagen, which is made up of bovine (cow) collagen, under your skin.

What are the side-effects of collagen filler?

The collagen fillers are derived from a cow protein. They also contain the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) beads and lidocaine, a local anesthetic to help make the procedure as painless as possible.

The main adverse effect of the filler is a reaction to cow protein or lidocaine; hence, a prior skin sensitivity test is a must.

Other adverse events to the collagen fillers (though rare) are:

  • Skin redness
  • Skin discomfort, including swelling, bleeding and bruising
  • Infection at the injection site
  • Skin rash with itching
  • Possible scarring
  • Bumps, especially if injected too superficially
  • Nerve injury and paralysis
  • Blindness if the injected is too close to the eyes
  • Shifting of the filler from the desired site
  • Skin necrosis (death) and skin sores

Overall, the procedure is safe if done in a proper setting. It is always prudent to discuss your expectations with your plastic surgeon before the procedure. The effects of the collagen fillers are temporary and may need subsequent touch-ups at intervals, depending on the injected site.


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