Purpose of review:
The use of dermal filler in the periocular area is increasing - both for functional and aesthetic indications. Hyaluronic acid fillers dominate the market; these treatments offer an alternative to some surgical procedures with the advantage of instant results, minimal healing time and low complication rates. However, success depends on judicious selection of patients, products and procedures to achieve favourable outcomes. This article reviews current understanding of the principal complications in the periocular area and their management.
Hyaluronic acid is a ubiquitous, biodegradable, nonspecies-specific molecular substrate with limited potential for immunogenic reactions. However, in the periocular area, such products can migrate and last significantly longer than the expected filler lifespan. Contamination or subsequent immune stimulation can trigger delayed-onset inflammatory reactions. Though minor vascular occlusions are not uncommon, cases of blindness secondary to facial filler injections are thought to be rare. Timely enzymatic degradation with injectable hyaluronidase can be effective in the treatment of some such complications. But recent studies demonstrate lack of penetration through arterial walls and optic nerve sheath, casting doubt on the role of retrobulbar hyaluronidase in the management of vision loss because of embolism with hyaluronic acid filler.
Hyaluronic acid fillers represent an emerging and important addition to the armamentarium of the oculofacial plastic surgeon with their use in the aesthetic field also expected continue to rise. The oculoplastic facial surgeon, armed with a thorough knowledge of facial anatomy, safe injection planes and the means of minimizing and treating complications is in the best position to lead clinically in the use of this well tolerated and effective treatment modality.