Everything you need to know about filler migration and longevity

dermal filler migration

Earlier this year, the dermal filler migration and longevity question exploded into the general public’s consciousness as beauty journalist Alice Hart-Davis revealed the surprising results of an MRI to assess the outcome of 20 years of aesthetic tweakments.

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are considered temporary products as our skin contains a certain amount of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid over time. Depending on where they are injected and other factors such as the individual patient’s metabolism or whether they smoke, HA dermal fillers are estimated to last between six months and two years.

However, Alice’s MRI indicated there was 35ml of dermal filler product in her face – more dermal filler than had been injected and despite her not having had any dermal filler treatments in the last four years.

Dermal filler longevity

More research is taking place into filler longevity, but one suggestion is that it integrates into the facial tissues. Another thought is that developments in technique have meant it is now being injected deeper into the subdermal layer and up to the supraperiosteal region, where it degrades differently.

The good news is that HA dermal fillers have been used for over 20 years in aesthetic treatments, and there are no known adverse effects. Interestingly, Alice’s MRI also showed that the dermal filler present was still located precisely where it had been injected.

Filler migration

Filler migration is a hot topic on TikTok, with the hashtag recording over 73 million views. Yet, it is less common a complication than social media suggests. Filler migration refers to dermal filler spreading to another area of the face from where the filler was injected. The lips are the most likely to be affected with filler migrating from the vermillion border to just above, sometimes creating a moustache-like effect.

Filler migration is most likely to occur due to improper injection technique or overfilling. There is also now a proliferation of filler brands, all offering various products of different consistencies.

What happens if dermal filler migrates or needs removing?

If you feel that the filler has spread or has built up in a specific area, it is possible to dissolve hyaluronic acid dermal fillers with hyaluronidase.

As always, practitioner choice is critical to a successful aesthetic outcome. Choosing a highly experienced practitioner who can carefully plan your treatments to avoid filler build-up and migration is a must. Call 0115 772 2363 to arrange a consultation with Dr Claudia to discuss your treatment in more detail.