One of the biggest appeals of dermal fillers is that they're temporary. Depending on the treated area or how your body takes to the filler, the results of your treatment can last anywhere from four to nine months. The filler will fade gradually as they dissolve into your body (but don't be scared when you hear that—hyaluronic acid fillers are biodegradable and it can be found inside your body, to begin with), so you don't have to worry about any immediate or harsh deflation. Once your fillers have completely dissolved or almost completely dissolved, you can choose to get a top-up to maintain your desired look. Easy peasy!
But what if you want to get rid of your fillers before they gradually dissolve? What if you want to correct poorly administered fillers? What if you want to alter the results of your treatment? Because dermal fillers are temporary, there are solutions for this, and it's called hyaluronidase.
Hyaluronidase is the answer to the question: are fillers reversible? Broadly put, yes!
What is hyaluronidase?
Hyaluronidases are a family of injectable enzymes that act as dispersion agents. These help speed up the natural breakdown of hyaluronic acid through hydrolysis. As long as the practitioner is acting in the patient’s best interests, their autonomy is respected and the patient has fully consented, then hyaluronidase can be administered in the event of an adverse reaction. Various factors will influence the administration and dosage – for example, the concentration of HA filler, level of cross-linking and amount of HA deposit.
Simply put, hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic acid fillers and helps it dissolve into the body much quicker. Of course, 'quick' can be a case-by-case basis, as hyaluronic acid fillers are not made equal and often have different concentrations. Hyaluronidase is most often used when there are irregularities or adverse effects that have taken effect on your treated area, like the Tyndall effect where the HA fillers are injected too close to the skin and creates a bluish discolouration of the skin. It can also be used to dissolve fillers much sooner than you'd prefer.
If you're feeling any adverse effects post-treatment, you should contact your practitioner immediately. However, you should note the difference between the "regular" redness, swelling, and bruising that occurs post-treatment. That usually lasts for a few days, depending on how sensitive your body is, but it often takes no more than three to four days. But if you're noticing that the swelling or bruising still hasn't settled and your treated area has taken on an irregular shape, that's when you should ring your practitioner for a follow-up.
The results of having hyaluronidase administered won't take long. The full effect can be seen within the day, in fact. You should still follow the same aftercare tips post-treatment (because it's still a syringe and a substance!), and keep in mind to have another follow-up appointment two or three weeks after the initial dissolution of the fillers to see if there should be more work done.
So if you're ever wondering if you could hit CTRL + Z on your fillers or if you're looking to wave SOS, don't forget about hyaluronidase! It's important that you should act quickly when it comes to the adverse effects of HA fillers should complications arise (though these instances are very rare), and to keep in mind that your practitioner should always have your best interests in mind, as well.