A WOMAN was forced to have crystallised lumps cut out of her lips, after being injected with filler normally used to shape a nose or jawline.
Michaela Hide, 31, couldn't speak, eat or drink properly – and was unable to kiss her boyfriend – after paying £220 for the tweakment with a dodgy beautician.
Instead of giving her a plump pout with a hyaluronic acid based filler, the beautician, who wasn't qualified, pumped her lips full of a calcium-based product which crystallised in her lips.
The customer services manager had to pay a further £1,020 for two operations, where a top plastic surgeon cut the lumps out with scissors, in what's thought to be the first case of its kind.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital, Michaela, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, said: "I looked like something out of a horror show.
"I know something was wrong straight away. I have a very high pain threshold but this was unbearable – she injected me about 20 times.
"My lips were stinging and swelled up straight away. When I saw them, I said 'oh my God'.
"I was worried as they were so huge and painful – my top lip was almost touching my nose.
"But the woman insisted they would go down. She told me go home and put ice on them, which didn't do anything.
"I looked horrific. When my boyfriend at the time came home, he went berserk, screaming 'what have you done?'
"He hadn't wanted me to touch my lips in the first place. Now I could hardly talk, eat or drink. I definitely couldn't kiss him."
Had our fill campaign
Britain's Botox and filler addiction is fuelling a £2.75billion industry.
The wrinkle-busting and skin plumping treatments account for 9 out of 10 cosmetic procedures.
50% of women and 40% of men aged 18 to 34 want to plump up their pouts and tweak their faces.
Fillers are totally unregulated and incredibly you don’t need to have ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.
83% of botched jobs are performed by people with no medical training, often in unsanitary environments – with devastating results.
Women have been left with rotting tissue, needing lip amputations, lumps and even blinded by botched jobs.
Despite the dangers, there is no legal age limit for dermal filler, which is why Fabulous has launched Had Our Fill, a campaign calling for:
- fillers to be made illegal for under 18s
- a crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers
- a Government-backed central register for practitioners with accredited qualifications
We're working in conjunction with Save Face and are backed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
We want anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to be well-informed to make a safe decision.
We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics – have you?
The filler used, Radiesse, is a popular product but is not supposed to be used for lip injections.
It's normally used for chin, jaw, cheek and nose sculpting, or plumping out wrinkles in the hands or face.
Things only got worse from there, with "giant lumps" appearing under Michaela's lips, forcing her to take time off work.
I looked like something out of a horror show. I hid at home with a scarf around my face
She said: "Within a couple of days, giant lumps appeared which meant I could hardly open my mouth.
"There was a giant ball of filler on my bottom lip and my top one had lumps either side, with a huge gap where there was no filler in the middle.
"I looked so bad, I couldn't go to work and hid at home with a scarf around my face."
Michaela went back to see the beautician, who works from her home and also does microblading, hoping she could fix the problem.
Instead, the cheeky home salon owner charged her £120 for yet more filler – to "even her pout out".
She said: "I’d paid her £220 to do my lips and when she saw them she said I needed more filler to even them out and asked me for another £120. Stupidly, I paid up as I was so desperate to look normal."
But Michaela's lips were left looking even worse. She said: "I was angry and upset because I looked so awful.
"But because she wasn’t a medic or part of a clinic, there was no one I could complain to.
"I kept asking her what I could do but she just kept telling me to wait for the swelling to go down, then she blocked me. I found out later that she’d moved and I couldn’t find her."
Feeling desperate, Michaela went to a medical clinic for help, but the nurse said there was nothing they could do.
Michaela said: "That’s when I really began to panic. I thought I was going to be stuck like this forever.
"I was taking antihistamine and putting ice on my lips, but nothing was making any difference.
"They were filled with lumps of all sizes, they were noticeable if I spoke."
Eventually, Michaela realised she had no option but to fork out a further £1,020 and get her lips fixed with a reconstructive surgeon – taking the total cost up to £1,340
Dr Mark Gorman said of Michaela's pout: "I have never seen anything like it.
"It’s a very rare case as this filler is used to augment jawlines and in noses – it stays twice as long and resembles bone.
"To use it in the lips is crazy. It crystallises and is often used in the back of hands to fill in spaces to make them look younger.
"I tried to do some research and there aren’t any reports of a case like this, so I had to improvise.
"Michaela’s was a particularly terrible case – the wrong technique had also been used, which had compromised the blood vessels to her lips. This can cause the lip tissue to die."
It was cheaper than going to one of the well-known clinics – but I've ended up paying much more to correct them
Dr Gorman tried to dissolve the filler, but it had no effect on the lumps.
So he had to cut into her lips under local anaesthetic, then pick out the lumps with scissors and stitch her lips back up.
The doc said: "It took two hours as I had to be careful not to take away too much lip tissue and only the calcium.
"Afterwards, her lips needed to heal for around two months before I could correct them."
He then used Revolax to make her lips even and restore volume, as well as vertical 'tenting' injections to stop the safe dermal filler spreading above the lip.
Michaela said: "Mark did an amazing job. I still have some tiny lumps I can feel in there, he couldn’t get everything out but they look so much better.
"I was so silly to go to someone who wasn’t qualified, especially as it was at her home, but I didn’t imagine anything could go wrong.
"Having lip fillers is talked about in the same way as having your eyebrows shaped now but, of course, it can go horribly wrong as I found out.
"I didn’t do any research and it was cheaper than going to one of the well-known clinics, which I did once years ago. But I've ended up paying much more to correct them.
"I will never have perfect lips again. I have scar tissue at the corner of my mouth where the big lumps were.
"I'd never heard of Radiesse, but I now realise it's for jawlines and wrinkles.
"It was horrendous having to have all of the lumps dug out. Afterwards, Dr Gorman told me to wash my face.
"I looked in the mirror and was shocked, I was covered in blood. That's how drastic it was to try and make me look OK again."
What are fillers?
Dermal fillers are a popular cosmetic procedure where substances are injected into the body for different aesthetic purposes.
Fillers are normally made from hyaluronic acid – a naturally occurring compound in the skin.
The acid stores moisture, making skin look more hydrated and plump.
When it's injected as a gel-like substance, it integrates into skin and draws moisture into the tissue, creating volume.
Fillers are commonly used to enhance facial features by making sharper cheekbones, stronger jawlines or bigger lips, but they can be used all over the body – they're even used in penis enlargement treatments.
The effects of fillers usually last between six and 18 months depending on where they've been used on the body.
Fillers are different to Botox, which blocks nerve signals in the muscles where it's injected to restrict movement and prevent 'expression lines'.
Dr Gorman said it's important clients find medically-trained professionals when getting lip fillers.
He said: "They should have studied anatomy and know what to do if there’s a complication.
"Many people think they have to inject deep into the lips to make them plump but in fact it’s the opposite – superficial injections should be used to get the best shape.
"There’s a real risk to the blood vessels if you inject too deeply and this can be death to the lips.
"It is dangerous and there needs to be accountability – you need to be able to go to a professional body for recourse if something goes wrong."
Luckily, Michaela's lips have now returned to normal.
She said: "I’ll never go to an unqualified person to have them tweaked again. It’s too dangerous.
"Luckily Dr Gorman rescued my pout and gave me something to smile about.’"
REVOLAX is available in selected clinics across the UK including Dr Mark Gorman’s Rejuvedoc in North London –click here for more details.
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