The top questions you need to ask if you’re considering having dermal fillers

By Dr Nina Sheffield, MD, BSc

Dermal fillers can achieve amazing results to make you look fresher.  Interestingly, they are classed as a medical device, not a medication; this means they do not come under the same regulations as BOTOX®, even though, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there is the potential for things to go wrong.  If you’re considering dermal fillers for the first time or considering going to a new clinic, it’s really important that you ask the following questions, so you can be confident you’re putting your face in safe hands.



    • What product does the clinic use?

There are hundreds of dermal fillers on the market; they contain different ingredients and are made under very different conditions.  90% of fillers in the UK are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a substance found naturally in the body.  Other fillers are made from calcium hydroxylapatite and polylactic acid.  Some dermal fillers are made from artificial ingredients; these can only be reversed with surgery.  We only use Juvéderm® products which are HA-based and produced to the highest standards in the most controlled environment by Allergan, the manufacturer of the market-leading product BOTOX®.

    • What are the potential side effects if the dermal fillers go wrong?

Dermal fillers can go wrong, and trustworthy clinics should be upfront about this.  If you inject them into a blood vessel, it can occlude it, creating skin necrosis, which essentially kills the tissue and makes it go black.  Blanching is the opposite effect – also caused by occluding a blood vessel by injecting into it – in which the skin goes white.  If you put too much filler in one point, it can lead to compression to an important blood vessel, which can also lead to necrosis.


    • How do you make sure things don’t go wrong?

Good practitioners will always make sure they are not injecting into a blood vessel by pulling the plunger back up slightly (called aspirating).  


    • How often do you have things go wrong, and how do you correct them?

Even the most skilled practitioners can make mistakes; be wary of the person who tells you they’ve never had anything go wrong.  Far more important is their honesty and their ability to put things right. Fillers take effect instantly, so they need to take immediate action, injecting a dissolver to eliminate the filler; if they can’t tell you this, run a mile!


    • What training, skills and experience do you have?

Due to the potential for dermal fillers to go wrong in the wrong hands, it’s really important that you choose a skilled practitioner.  They need proper training and most importantly experience; they need to know which of the many different injections to put where for different results.  Personally, I delivered over 1,500 facial injections in 2017, of which 680 were dermal fillers.


    • What look will you achieve?

It’s your face so you need to able to discuss the results you want with your practitioner. They should be honest about what is achievable; if they try and manage your expectations because you’re asking for the impossible, that’s a good sign!  It’s always best to start cautiously and add more at a later stage if necessary.

what are dermal fillers



    • How long will it last?

Different treatments last different lengths of time.  Most dermal fillers last from a year to 18 months – another reason why you need to know you’re in expert hands.

dermal filler before after


    • Can I see some referrals, testimonials and before and after pictures?

If they’re any good, they will be happy for you to see their handiwork.  Looking at photos will also help you check whether their work is compatible with the results you want to achieve.


In the right hands, dermal fillers can boost your confidence by making you look fresher and less tired.  If you ask the right questions, you can have peace of mind that you are entrusting your face to the right hands.


Book a no-obligation consultation to discuss dermal fillers and other facial aesthetic procedures with Dr Nina Sheffield

Call 01892 22 22 22


Dr. Nina Sheffield


Meet the expert

Dr Nina Sheffield qualified as a GP before specialising in Otolaryngology (ENT).  For the last 12 years, she has specialised in medical lasers and cosmetic injections