Every patient considering injectable filler treatments wants to achieve natural and noticeable results. After all, you only have one face. Spending several months with unnatural, unsatisfactory results from poor injection technique can be devastating to your self-esteem. While injectable fillers are a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment, the injector's expertise is still a crucial component in getting the results you want.
Injectable Fillers Aren't Necessarily Simple
Many nurses at medical spas now offer Botox, Restylane, and other injection treatments. Doctors and nurses without a plastic surgery background, such as internists, dentists or gynecologists, may also offer injections in their offices.
But just because a practitioner offers injectables doesn't mean that they are well qualified to perform them!
Filler injections are a medical procedure that require specific training, knowledge, and skill to administer safely and effectively.
The surge of individuals who lack board certification in plastic surgery offering injections doesn't mean the procedures are simple. It means they're incredibly popular. More and more unqualified injectors have begun to offer filler treatments to meet demand for these non-invasive procedures, but their patients' outcomes aren't always optimal.
In this blog, you'll learn a few of the most important criteria to take into consideration before you select an injectable filler provider.
1. Expertise and Training in Aesthetic Medicine, Injectables, and Surgery
Many nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), or physician assistants (PAs) who offer injectable filler treatments received their training in a weekend course on injectables. In the state of California, law dictates that RNs, NPs, and PAs working under the supervision of a licensed physician (MD) are able to administer injections. Estheticians can only perform treatments limited to the superficial dermis, which does NOT include injections. However, laws vary from state to state.
While these weekend training crash-courses for medical professionals can lend some basic insights into patient safety, they don't impart injectors with sufficient knowledge of facial anatomy or a surgeon's precision. These "weekend course" injectors also lack a surgeon's skilled eye for evaluating a patient's unique needs.
Optimally, you want an injector who is a board-certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, or cosmetic dermatologist, or at the very least a licensed medical professional who has been trained in a certified plastic surgery setting for at least 3-5 years. Board certified plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and cosmetic dermatologists are the only medical professionals who have been specifically trained These individuals have years of experience and training delivering satisfactory outcomes to discerning patients, as well as extensive subject matter knowledge. I caution patients against obtaining any medical procedure outside of a medical setting, including injectables.
2. Avoid Selecting Based on Price
In most cases, it is costlier for patients to receive injections from a highly-skilled and qualified injector. It can be more expensive to obtain Juvederm, Restylane, or another filler treatment from a surgeon than from an aesthetician for several reasons, including training, expertise, and facilities. In many cases, patients of a plastic surgeon receive more intensive consultation and after-care services, which can also contribute to a higher price tag.
Ultimately, prospective injectables patients should avoid selecting a provider based on price alone. The risks associated with low-cost injection treatments performed by an RN or NP at a "medical spa" or "cosmetic clinic" are immense, especially when considering the risks of using an unskilled provider.
3. Opt for Someone Who Offers a Full Spectrum of Services
Not every patient is a good candidate for injections. For some patients, Botox and fillers may not yield desired outcomes. Cosmetic surgery, may be necessary interventions to achieve the youthful appearance of a patient's goals.
Selecting a injection provider who offers a broad spectrum of plastic surgery and non-surgical services can lend more individualized treatment plans. Patients can receive advice on the best approach for their unique face and goals, not advice that's based on a limited range of services. Additionally, due to the wide array of FDA-approved filler treatments, patients should avoid using an injector who only works with one or two substances.
4. Choose Transparency
Regardless of who you are considering hiring to perform injections, transparency should be a key consideration for prospective patients. A surgeon, aesthetician, or medical professional who lacks transparency around their processes and fillers can be a sign of a profit-driven business. They may lack appropriate consideration for patient safety or outcomes. In particular, I recommend avoiding anyone who:
- Will not name the substance they will inject
- Avoids disclosing risks of the selected treatment
- Pressures patients to consider complimentary treatments without clear justification
In addition to these factors, patients should avoid receiving treatment from any professional who is not upfront about their training or experience level with injectables.
5. Consider Before-and-After Photos
A surgeon's before-and-after photos are a powerful visual indicator of their skill and experience. Optimally, the results of injectable filler treatments should appear attractive and vibrantly natural. Filler outcomes that appear too subtle or too overt can be the sign of a surgeon who lacks appropriate experience administering injections or creating patient treatment plans.
For patients considering injectable filler treatments, it's critical to note that your injector matters. Selecting a prospective provider of Botox or fillers based on price or convenience can be a dangerous decision. It's important to trust your appearance to a trained, respected professional with years of training and experience.
Injectable Filler Safety: Three Keys to Remember
If you are considering injectable fillers of any kind, it's critical to remember three keys before proceeding with a selection of any provider:
1. Plastic Surgeons vs. "Other" Medical Professionals
In my practice, the most common source of confusion I encounter is in regards to the safety of receiving injections from a medical professional who is not a plastic surgeon. This includes Physicians Assistants, Registered Nurses, or Nurse Practitioners operating in a "cosmetic clinic" or "medical spa" setting. Ultimately, receiving injections from a RN or NP is safer than receiving injections from someone without any licensing or medical training, but these individuals lack the skills, knowledge and training of a plastic surgeon.
2. Avoid Unlicensed Injectors at All Costs
Horror stories abound of patients who opt to receive completely unlicensed, potentially illegal, injections. This can include industrial-grade silicone, administered by a non-medical professional in a private home. While the risks of this approach are very real and frightening, patients who perform careful research are unlikely to fall prey to dangerous, illegal injections.
3. Plastic Surgeon vs. Nurse at a Plastic Surgeon's Office
Receiving injections from a Nurse injector at a Plastic Surgeon's office is fairly common, but still carries unique pros and cons. In many cases, Nurses who provide injections at a Plastic Surgeon are trained by the Plastic Surgeon, and are better-equipped for success than many other Nurse injectors operating out of a medical spa setting. However, these individuals are still fundamentally less well-equpped than a trained Plastic Surgeon, so this approach is not entirely fool-proof.
At 77 Plastic Surgery, Dr. Larry Fan wants to provide the very best results for our patients, so he insists on performing all filler injection treatments himself. Dr. Fan has performed thousands of filler injections, and he will help you develop a customized treatment plan designed just for you.
To learn more about some of the FDA-approved injectable filler treatments offered at 77Plastic in San Francisco, click here.