Concern has been mounting over the increase of cosmetic procedures using dermal fillers in the UK. Some candidates for cosmetic surgery - frequently young women - do not conduct proper online research before making a decision to proceed leading to undesirable and unexpected results. Sadly, patients can be manipulated by social media, cheap prices and the promise of instant solutions and some do not spare a thought for the training background of their practitioner.

Practitioners who work with fillers do not need to be registered and many have inadequate qualifications and training which leads to a poor quality result. According to Dr Erin Gilbert, a professor of dermatology at the State University of New York, ‘dermal fillers can induce serious and potentially long-lasting adverse effects'. In the most severe cases, patients can go permanently blind, or experience allergic inflammatory reactions and facial nerve damage.

Patients should be fully briefed about the potential consequences by their doctor before cosmetic surgery is undertaken. They should also check if their chosen practitioner is registered and follows Government and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) guidelines. Patients should also take into consideration the post procedure support offered by practitioners.

If performed by appropriately qualified and experienced specialists, cosmetic surgery with fillers can be a safe and affordable way to increase someone’s confidence and improve their image. Fillers can be divided into two main groups, temporary and permanent. The former is made from hyaluronic acid, which is eventually absorbed into the body, and the latter from materials that can linger in the body for many years. Whichever type a patient chooses, the key point is cooperation with a reputable clinician. A range of NHS resources is also available allowing prospective patients to receive accurate information about accredited practitioners and organisations, the advantages and side effects of fillers and the treatment they will need if complications should occur.