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Things to consider before undergoing procedures involving dermal fillers

Fact sheet

5 March 2018

Non-surgical enhancements using cosmetic injections, also known as dermal fillers, are becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Dermal fillers are materials injected under the skin to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles or lines, and can also be used to enhance facial contours by adding volume to cheeks and lips and to improve the appearance of scars. Increasing interest in these types of procedures has prompted a reminder about the associated risks, the presence of counterfeit products and the conversations you should be having during your consultation.

Are you aware of the risks associated with cosmetic injections?

Did you know?

  • The process of injecting dermal fillers is a medical procedure that should only be undertaken by an experienced and qualified medical doctor, or a nurse under the supervision of a doctor.
  • Dermal fillers are prescription-only products.
  • Neither the brand of product or substance used in cosmetic injections can be advertised to the public. Brands should be discussed in consultations to ensure the doctor uses good quality products.
  • Only products approved by the TGA should be used.
  • Risks are not only associated with the product. Doctors who lack adequate experience, qualifications and knowledge can cause significant adverse events.

Questions to ask during your consultation

There are questions you can ask during your consultation with a qualified medical doctor which will help you make an educated decision on whether or not to go ahead.

Question 1: Who will be performing my procedure?

Make sure the person performing the procedure is a qualified and registered medical doctor or a nurse who is acting under a doctor's supervision. The national register maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency lists all persons who hold registration with the Medical and Nursing Boards of Australia and can be freely searched on the AHPRA website.

Injecting a filler into the wrong area of the face may have serious consequences

Question 2: How much experience do you have in this type of procedure?

Doctors must have extensive knowledge of the facial anatomy, as well as the required training and experience.

Injecting a filler into the wrong area of the face may have serious consequences, including blindness or even death.

Question 3: What product will you be using? Is it approved by the TGA?

Due to legislation and regulations governing the advertising of therapeutic goods, product information such as the brand name and substances cannot be advertised and so this information is only available if you ask.

Identifying the name of the product will allow you to search the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), on the TGA website, to ensure that we have approved that product for your procedure. The doctor should know whether the product they are using is approved.

It is important to ensure you will be supported after the procedure if you experience any side effects

Question 4: What are the risks associated with this procedure and what level of aftercare will you provide?

As with any procedure, there are associated risks that your doctor should explain to you. But it is also important to ensure you will be supported after the procedure if you experience any side effects.

What to look out for

Counterfeit dermal filler products imported from overseas exist and should be avoided. These can be difficult to identify. The best way to avoid them is to only ever source prescription products from a medical professional who is registered in Australia.

Be aware of heavily advertised and discounted procedures. Ask the right questions to make sure you're comparing 'like with like' when researching clinics/doctors.

To report adverse events as a result of a dermal filler product, speak with your doctor or visit Reporting problems

If you require further information, you can contact us on 1800 020 653 or email info@tga.gov.au