If you have received dermal fillers like Restylane® or Juvéderm®, you likely paid close attention to the news that several of the participants in the Moderna vaccine trial experienced swelling around their dermal fillers after they received the vaccine. This has caused some of our patients to ask, “Should I get the COVID vaccine if I have dermal fillers?”
You already know that swelling is a normal side effect of dermal filler injections. But you may not know that—despite being extremely rare—filler swelling after a vaccine or infection is also a possible reaction. And while unexpected swelling can be frustrating, this reaction responds well to treatment and is not dangerous.
Here are the 3 things you need to know about the vaccine if you have dermal filler:
1. Vaccines and infections sometimes cause swelling around filler, medical implants, or other foreign objects in the body
Vaccines help you fend off future illness by giving your body an inactive dose of a virus. This prompts your immune system to fight the vaccine as though it were real, producing antibodies against infection. While you will not contract coronavirus from the COVID-19 vaccine, this is how vaccines strengthen your immunity.
This immune system response is behind the rare dermal filler swelling reaction because it can cause your body to temporarily react to any foreign object in the body (pacemakers and piercings are other examples), leading to visible swelling around those objects. Research has shown that even infections like the flu may cause a similar immune response and cause dermal fillers to swell.
2. If your filler swells, your physician can treat it
Should you experience a reaction to the vaccine, your physician can treat it with antihistamines (a common treatment for seasonal allergies). While some physicians also prescribe steroids to treat swelling, they should be avoided in this case as they may interfere with your body’s normal response to the vaccine.
In the case of the Moderna vaccine trial, all patients’ swelling resolved with oral medication. If it becomes necessary to remove or adjust your filler results for aesthetic reasons, hyaluronic acid-based fillers can be safely dissolved with injections of the enzyme hyaluronidase.
3. There is a small risk your fillers may swell, but it should not stop you from getting vaccinated (or getting filler)
The risk of developing swelling around your dermal filler is extremely low, and this reaction is not life-threatening. With the effective treatments available, the risks of skipping the vaccine are more serious than those of swelling.
Should you feel hesitation about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, we recommend you talk with your primary care doctor or a board certified plastic surgeon. Share your concerns and learn about their protocol for managing dermal filler swelling. In some cases, they may recommend a preventative treatment.
Still have questions? Talk with the injectables experts at Kalos Medical Spa in Fort Worth.
Our highly trained staff are here to advise you on injectable safety, as well as to ensure you enjoy gorgeous, natural-looking results from your treatment. Led by board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby, Kalos Medical Spa is committed to patient education and safety. To set up your appointment, call or TEXT (817) 292-4200—or fill out our online contact form.