Patients complaining of ‘filler face’ have fillers removed in record numbers

Thousands of people are questioning their choice of counting on facial fillers to serve as their fountain of youth. Even celebrities admit it was a mistake.

A plastic surgeon in Houston says now one of the trends in her office is repairing over-filled faces.


Almost three million doses of facial fillers are injected every year, in an effort to turn back the hands of time. They were designed to replace a person's own dissipating collagen to plump skin and disguise wrinkles.

TV personality Simon Cowell and actress Courteney Cox are just a few celebs who have publicly second-guessed their fillers. A local woman knows how they feel! Angela Gonzales says, enough is enough for her.

"Ten years ago, I started getting really dark circles under my eyes and was told that filler would help. It did help me because it filled in that area that was caving in. But what I was doing was putting filler on top of filler, assuming that it dissolved. I just felt like your body dissolved it. Then, when I came and Dr. Sami saw it, you could tell that it was clumpy, it was kind of coming to the surface and my skin almost transparent," explains Angela.

Angela was hoping to age gracefully and thought fillers would nudge her in that direction. Instead, she believes the ones under her eyes ended up speeding-up her aging process. 

Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Mirwat Sami says now the trend in her office is removing under-eye filler.

"People get over-injected where their eyes start getting smaller, their lids are riding up, they look very puffy and swollen. Sometimes at the time of the injection, people are looking good but it's over the course of the next few months, even years that that filler can start looking pretty swollen and puffy," describes Dr. Sami.

Fillers cost hundreds of dollars and have to be repeated several times a year to keep-up the results, but Dr. Sami says putting filler-over-filler can lead to catastrophe.

"Over the last several years, we're seeing more of what we call filler-face. I think that term describes it all. It tells you there are a lot of people out there with tons of filler in their face, so it can almost make you look like a different person. They can almost look like avatars of their original faces," says Dr. Sami.


Dr. Sami says most filler damage she sees takes place under the eyes.

"I know it sounds so tempting!  You know you come in over lunch, get a few injections, very little downtime and you're done. But actually, that is not the reality for most people. Most people that come in are complaining of hollowing, under-eye bags, crepey skin, and all those factors have to be assessed and kept, keeping their age in mind and their general anatomy because not everybody's a good candidate for tear trough filler," says Dr. Sami. If they're not, Dr. Sami says it makes them look even more tired and older.

Dr. Sami shares a new study looking at MRI's of patients who have had fillers. She believes it proves that fillers don't just dissolve into the body, as previously believed, rather they can age and began to collect water, especially under the eyes.

"They had filler anywhere from two to ten years ago and there were still remnants of filler and it could be it was picked up on MRI scan.

These are the observations we've made, but we needed a little more scientific data to prove it, and I think we have those facts now," states Dr. Sami.  

Angela is relieved to be on the other side of fillers.

"Dr. Sami took the filler out, which I had never heard of. That was a process that was done. I was never told, I just assumed that filler, like anything else in your body, just dissolves. So she took it out, and it looked better," smiles Angela.

Dr. Sami injected an enzyme under Angela's eyes to dissolve that filler. Many others turn to plastic surgery to repair the damage and try to get back their original look. For everyone who still wants to use fillers, don't despair. Dr. Sami still offers it, like many other doctors and med spas, but encourages everyone to do it carefully and with a seasoned professional.

"Finding a product that has a smaller molecular size, something that's a more finesse product, that can be injected in the right plane and can actually create a little bit of a softening of that hollow it's important."

Finally, Dr. Sami encourages everyone to never seek perfection, that's when over-filling often occurs.

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