Successfully Managing Impending Skin Necrosis following Hyaluronic Acid Filler Injection, using High-Dose Pulsed Hyaluronidase

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Summary:Facial fillers are becoming increasingly popular as aesthetic procedures to temporarily reduce the depth of wrinkles or to contour faces. However, even in the hands of very experienced injectors, there is always a small possibility of vascular complications like intra-arterial injection of filler substance. We present a case report of a patient who developed features of vascular obstruction in right infraorbital artery and tell-tale signs of impending skin necrosis, after hyaluronic acid filler injection by an experienced injector. The diagnosis of a vascular complication was made quickly with the help of clinical features like blanching, livedo reticularis, and poor capillary refill. Patient was treated promptly with “high-dose pulsed hyaluronidase protocol” comprising three 1,000-unit pulses of hyaluronidase, administered hourly. There was no further increase in size of the involved area after the first dose of hyaluronidase. All of the involved area, along with 1 cm overlapping in uninvolved skin area, was injected during each injection pulse, using a combination of cannula and needle. Complete reperfusion and good capillary filling were achieved after completion of 3 pulses, and these were taken as the end-point of high-dose pulsed hyaluronidase treatment. Immediate skin changes after filler injections, as well as after hyaluronidase injections and during the 3-week recovery period, were documented with photographs and clinical notes. Involved skin was found to have been fully recovered from this vascular episode, thus indicating that complete recovery of the ischemic skin changes secondary to possible intra-arterial injection could be achieved using high-dose pulsed hyaluronidase protocol.

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