Silicone oil has only one FDA-approved indication for use―repairing complex retinal detachments. Liquid silicone, also called silicone oil, finds its way into off-label use as a medical-grade facial filler. However, silicone oil has a number of side effects and it is not advisable for this use. Dr. Steinsapir does not recommend getting liquid silicone injections, no matter how much more inexpensive the treatment may be, nor does he perform the procedure. Fixing previous silicone injections is a complicated, involved process, and it is impossible to remove all of the oil. Dr. Steinsapir has treated many patients damaged by these treatments but each situation is unique and a personal assessment is essential to learn what methods might improve your situation.
The Perils Of Liquid Silicone
Receiving silicone oil injections in Mexico ( or in the United States at “pumping parties” or from unscrupulous injectors) is a dangerous decision for several reasons. Non-medical injectors are known to use liquid silicone illegally on the black market. Although medical professionals using liquid silicone in an off-label fashion use medical grade material, on the black market the silicone is often not medical grade but rather industrial silicone oil, which was never intended for the human body. There have been deaths from these types of illegal treatments.
Technically, since physicians may use FDA-approved products for non-approved uses, you can legally receive silicone oil treatments as a facial filler; but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Injecting silicone oil into the face and other parts of the body like the buttocks is not a case of careful and thoughtful use. It violates the very oath that every doctor takes to do no harm. Unfortunately a few non-physicians and even physicians continue to use silicone oils this way.
Deaths related to silicone oil injections have been reported. Even small facial treatments into the lip and nasolabial fold over time can result permanent and irreparable facial disfigurement.
Don’t Be Fooled By The Price
When it comes to financing cosmetic procedures, here is the bottom line: if you can’t afford safe, quality treatment from an actual physician (not an assistant, technician, traveling person with unspecified qualifications, the black market, or your own hand), then you are better off without any treatment. Silicone oil injections have too many associated complications, including migration and permanent disfigurement
Instead of automatically assuming you cannot afford legitimate, trustworthy, FDA-approved fillers, consult a bona-fide, fellowship trained cosmetic surgeon to learn about the cost and payment options for a safe, dependable filler. Silicone oil injections are cheap for a reason. Anyone who tells you they are a good cosmetic option is misleading you and omitting the facts.
Fixing Facial Fillers
Unfortunately, silicone oil is a poor alternative to real hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane® or Restylane Lyft® because it cannot easily be modified after the treatment. The first step in addressing and removing unwanted silicone is to identify the exact source of the injected silicone.
- Was it medical grade or industrial silicone oil?
- What is the lot number and expiration date?
- Where was it manufactured?
- Did the injector take precautions and use sterile technique?
Removing silicone is difficult, which is why Dr. Steinsapir believes that it should not be used as a filler material. Once you have identified the above information, the next step is to decide if surgery or some other approach is needed. Silicone oil is permanent and can’t be dissolved so removing it may require invasive surgery. The type and extent of your surgery will depend heavily on the location of the original injections, the type of silicone used, and the amount. The benefit of removing the material must be weighed against the potential complications that might be caused by surgery.
It is important to choose an experienced and knowledgeable surgeon to perform your surgery. Find someone you can trust and who will work with you to find a treatment plan that works for you and your individual situation. Unfortunately, a decision to receive silicone oil in Mexico, or any other black market injector often results in a greater expense in order to have the foreseeable complications addressed. In too many cases, there are no good options. Dr. Steinsapir strongly encourages anyone considering a black market cosmetic treatment of any kind to take into account the fact that while the initial treatment may be less expensive than a proper visit to a cosmetic surgeon and paying full price for your procedure, the long-term costs of a decision like this far out-weigh the short-term savings.
About Dr. Steinsapir
Dr. Steinsapir is a much sought after oculofacial surgeon. He is an innovator in minimally invasive cosmetic and reconstructive procedures and has invented new methods for treating with BOTOX, Fillers and cutting edge reconstructive eyelid and reconstructive midface surgery. He specializes in high precision eyelid surgery and is a leader in correcting prior facial and eyelid surgery, including multiple revised cosmetic eyelid reconstructions. He attended medical school at the UCLA and completed ophthalmology residency at The University of Chicago. He is multiple fellowship trained including three years of fellowship training in oculofacial plastic surgery at UCLA, and a two-year cosmetic surgery fellowship in Rancho Mirage. He is widely published and lectures to other surgeons nationally and internationally. He is an associate clinical professor of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. His private practice is located in West Los Angeles, immediately serving the Los Angeles and Bevery Hills communities. Additionally, individuals from all over the country and the world regularly come to Los Angeles for his expert care.
To learn more about Dr. Steinsapir’s specialized Restylane treatments, please contact us today.
To learn more about procedures and treatments performed by Beverly Hills | Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Steinsapir, contact us at 310-274-7422.
Services described may be “off-label” and lack FDA approval. This article is informational and does not constitute an advertisement for off-label treatment. No services should be provided without a good faith examination by a licensed physician and an informed consent with a discussion of risks, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of treatment success. Only you and your treating physician or surgeon can determine if a treatment is right for you.