A woman from Bristol, England paid £300 to have the pout-plumping procedure after admiring the look on other people. But the procedure turned out horribly bad.
Sarah Najjar, 30, said her lips became swollen 2cm in front of her face and felt rock hard to touch. Embarrassed by her own appearance, Sarah was left with no choice but to find someone who could return her lips to normal.
“I was in shock at what I ended up going through for what I’d thought was a simple procedure”, Sarah Najjar said.
Sarah ended up paying a specialist £700 to have the filler dissolved – more than double the cost of the original procedure.
Now 34, Sarah is warning others of the dangers of lip fillers following her ordeal in 2016.
She said: “I admit I didn’t research it much which really isn’t like me at all.
But I never got told about the risks or complications that could arise.
“My lips swelled up after I had the filler injected, which I initially thought was normal – but after a week you could see all these huge blue lumps and they felt rock hard.
“You could see them when I was talking. I was so self-conscious.
“I was in shock at what I ended up going through for what I’d thought was a simple procedure.”
A week later, though, it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong.
She explained: “My lips were very lumpy and uneven, so I went back to the injector who had done them, and they suggested that even more filler would even them out.
“Looking back, I know that’s not right now, but at the time, I trusted what I was being told and just wanted it fixed.
“So, I had another one millilitre injected – meaning I’d had two millilitres in just two weeks
“I woke up and my lips were more swollen than ever – literally about two centimetres in front of my face – and rock hard.
“I had to go into work and my practise manager was really shocked, asking me what on earth had happened.”
Eventually, the swelling started to ease but Sarah said her lips felt lumpier than ever.
She added: “I was having to massage my lips to break the filler down.”
With a family wedding approaching, which she wanted to ensure she looked presentable for, Sarah had no choice but to find a dermatologist who could help reverse the damage.
After researching extensively, she found a specialist who was able to inject her with hyaluronidase – a family of enzymes that can break down hyaluronic acid, the ingredient used in most lip fillers.
She said: “That cost me £700 – more than double what I’d paid for the original fillers.
“I did have a slight allergic reaction to the hyaluronidase and my mouth swelled, but I was given antihistamines.
“I actually had the appointment on Christmas Eve, so it was amazing they could see me, as I assumed the doctor would be closed or very busy.
“I was under review for two days after that and, thankfully, my lips began returning to normal.”
Shaken by her experience, Sarah decided to take a course in facial aesthetics herself on London’s renowned Harley Street.
Now, after becoming officially trained and qualified to perform injectable filler procedures, she works at The Dental Surgery in Clifton Village, Bristol, where she uses her own experience to make sure patients fully understand the potential risks.
She explained: “I was never told about risks or complications, so I want to make sure that the patients who come to me understand exactly what will happen before I put that needle in.
“If you don’t explain to them that there may be complications, and that hyaluronidase, which they would need to dissolve the filler, is very expensive – plus there is currently a shortage in many parts of the world, so not every doctor has easy access to it – then you are leaving them vulnerable.
“I get so many women coming in for corrective work after getting botched fillers, and they always say the same thing, ‘I went somewhere cheap.’ But you have to think, it’s cheap for a reason, and it ends up costing you far more to fix it.
“The NHS shouldn’t have to be dealing with people going to A&E with complications like occlusions, when blood vessels get blocked, but the difficulty is that people aren’t told the risks and so don’t know what to do.
“It’s also really important to give people a cooling off period, so they have 24 hours to go away and think about whether, now they have all the information, they actually want to go ahead.
“It’s not right to do it there and then, as they can feel pressured.”
Sarah has expressed concern about the rise in people with no medical training injecting filler into their clients.