Experience and Management of Intravascular Injection with Facial Fillers: Results of a Multinational Survey of Experienced Injectors

Greg J. Goodman, Stefania Roberts, Peter Callan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Intravascular injection leading to skin necrosis or blindness is the most serious complication of facial injection with fillers. It may be underreported and the outcome of cases are unclear. Early recognitions of the symptoms and signs may facilitate prompt treatment if it does occur avoiding the potential sequelae of intravascular injection. Objectives: To determine the frequency of intravascular injection among experienced injectors, the outcomes of these intravascular events, and the management strategies. Methods: An internet-based survey was sent to 127 injectors worldwide who act as trainers for dermal fillers globally. Results: Of the 52 respondents from 16 countries, 71 % had ≥11 years of injection experience, and 62 % reported one or more intravascular injections. The most frequent initial signs were minor livedo (63 % of cases), pallor (41 %), and symptoms of pain (37 %). Mildness/absence of pain was a feature of 47 % of events. Hyaluronidase (5 to >500 U) was used immediately on diagnosis to treat 86 % of cases. The most commonly affected areas were the nasolabial fold and nose (39 % each). Of all the cases, only 7 % suffered moderate scarring requiring surface treatments. Uneventful healing was the usual outcome, with 86 % being resolved within 14 days. Conclusion: Intravascular injection with fillers can occur even at the hands of experienced injectors. It may not be always associated with immediate pain or other classical symptoms and signs. Prompt effective management leads to favorable outcomes, and will prevent catastrophic consequences such as skin necrosis. Intravascular injection leading to blindness may not be salvageable and needs further study. Level of Evidence V: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-555
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Complication
  • Fillers
  • Intravascular injection
  • Skin necrosis

Cite this