Dr. Saber’s Blog

Are Cosmetic Injectables Actually Safe? A Plastic Surgeon’s Guide


Choosing just the right injectable treatment can seem overwhelming. You may have questions about safety, possible side effects, and how one product compares with another. You may also have concerns about the reversibility of the process. Let’s take a closer look at cosmetic injectables and dermal fillers. 

The concept of taking fat from one part of the body and injecting it into another place is not something new. At the end of the 19th century, a surgeon removed fat tissue from a patient’s upper arm and reinjected the tissue into the patient’s face to lessen the appearance of a scar. Over time, artificial substances were developed for use in place of fatty tissue.

Botox and Fillers: what you need to know

Botox and dermal fillers deliver similar results as they are both used in treating wrinkles on the face. Because they aren’t surgical procedures, these injectable treatments give great, long-lasting results with no downtime.

However, different injectables behave differently in the body and are used to obtain different goals. Your injector will choose the best treatment option for you based on your goals.

About Botox

Botox® Cosmetic is a muscle relaxant neurotoxin and works by paralyzing the muscle near unwanted facial wrinkles. Typically, these lines are around the eyes and mouth. Once the facial muscles around these areas are relaxed, the doctor will smooth the skin, giving the patient a more youthful appearance. 

Woman receiving Botox injection near eye

Although it’s best known as a treatment to smooth wrinkles, Botox has many uses throughout the body. Botox can be useful for:

  • Migraines
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Crow’s feet
  • Frown lines
  • Forehead lines
  • Controlling muscle spasms
  • Strabismus (an eye-alignment issue)

Is Botox Safe?

As far as the long-term effects of Botox, according to the National Institutes of Health, “there are no long-term or life-threatening adverse effects related to botulinum toxin treatment for any cosmetic indications.” Botox has an excellent safety record with long-term use. 

Dysport vs. Botox

Like Botox, Dysport was approved for medical use in many other applications before cosmetic purposes. The products work in similar ways and contain the same active ingredient, but Botox was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in the U.S. back in 2002, with Dysport receiving the same designation in 2009. 

Although the two products contain the same active ingredient, they differ in concentration. Botox is nearly three times more concentrated than Dysport. Many surgeons have a preference for use based on the location being treated.

About Dermal Fillers

While Botox is often used to smooth out fine lines near the delicate muscles of the face, injectable fillers are usually the product of choice for treating volume loss throughout the face. Another common cosmetic procedure is the application of dermal fillers to give the lips a more defined shape or add plumpness. 

The appearance of scar tissue caused by burns, acne, or other wounds is significantly reduced by treatment with dermal fillers. For these cases, dermal fillers are injected directly under the skin to lessen the scar’s appearance and improve the skin’s smoothness.

As we age, our body’s natural collagen production slows and our skin loses elasticity. Dermal fillers reverse the signs of aging by restoring volume along the nasolabial folds (smile lines), jawline, and anywhere else volume loss has resulted in wrinkles.

…different injectables behave differently in the body and are used to obtain different goals.

Dermal fillers are made of different substances, and there are many dermal filler brands, with some performing better than others in specific applications. While there are some more common dermal filler brands, your surgeon is the best authority for determining which type of filler will work best for your needs.

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a group of sugar molecules naturally found in tears and other tissues. This substance also helps in joint lubrication and is a significant ingredient in maintaining the correct moisture balance in the skin.

Juvederm® brand products (including Voluma, Vollure, and Volbella) are FDA-approved hyaluronic acid fillers. They’re generally best for the “lower third” of the face, such as marionette lines, lip lines, and lip augmentation.

Belotero® and Restylane® brand products are also FDA-approved HA fillers.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite filler

For nearly 20 years, calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) has been one of the world’s most popular and well-studied cosmetic filler substances. Many physicians consider this completely biodegradable gel the gold standard in volume restoration and midface rejuvenation. 

Man receiving dermal filler injection near mouth

The unique properties of CaHA fillers provide the skin with increased viscosity and elasticity while providing a natural-looking “plump” that works exceptionally well near the temples and chin, where the filler behaves much like a liquid implant. The material is found naturally in human bones and is considered long-lasting but non-permanent. 

Known for producing results that look very natural, CaHA is routinely used to address more profound and pronounced lines and creases of the face. This filler does not spread and tends to remain in place for up to a year. 

Radiesse® brand products are FDA-approved for use in cosmetic treatment.

Are Dermal Fillers Safe?

Everyone wants to look their best. You may have considered getting dermal fillers to help improve the appearance of your skin. But, are dermal fillers safe?

Yes, dermal fillers have been proven to be safe. In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), they are one of the most popular minimally invasive procedures. With over 11 million procedures performed in 2016 alone, it is clear that people trust dermal fillers to deliver beautiful results

One place where dermal fillers can be problematic is in the area above your nose, in between your eyes, and up into your forehead area. This area contains many blood vessels that, if injected into improperly, can cause blindness. This is why it is critically important to choose a doctor with extensive understanding and experience working with your body’s cardiovascular system. Since Dr. Saber is a reconstructive surgeon, in addition to a plastic surgeon, her knowledge of this area is extraordinarily deep, assuring her patients safe procedures.

Kybella Injections

Many cosmetic surgeons use Kybella to treat double chins and provide a better contour for the lower part of the face. The active ingredient in Kybella works by killing the fat cells in the injected area.

How does Kybella work? Kybella contains deoxycholic acid, a class of injectable medications that break down cells in fatty tissue. It is found naturally in the body and assists with the breakdown of fatty substances in the intestine. After use, the dead fat cells and the deoxycholic acid flush the body through the lymphatic system. 

Your injector will choose the best treatment option for you based on your goals.

Poly-L lactic acid fillers (Sculptra)

Injectable poly-L lactic acid (under the brand name Sculptra) restores volume to the face by stimulating your body to produce new collagen. The effects take a few months to appear as your body naturally replaces lost volume.

Choose Saber Plastic Surgery for Cosmetic Injectables in the Los Angeles Area

The world of cosmetic injectables and dermal fillers is constantly changing. When you schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sepideh Saber, she’ll go over all the options to choose what best fits your goals. 

Dr. Saber offers a more sensitive, female perspective for patients of all ages, genders, and orientations. Former patients from all walks of life have praised not only their treatment outcomes but her caring, thoughtful approach to a wide array of appearance and health-related matters.

To request a consultation, call 818-643-6991 or click here to schedule a consultation online.

Dr. Saber takes her patients’ safety very seriously. Her facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all CDC and World Health Organization recommendations. Masks are required in our office at all times during the coronavirus pandemic.

The practice of Dr. Saber is located in Encino, CA. We are convenient to patients in the Los Angeles area and Burbank, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, North Hollywood, Altadena, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Rosemead, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Huntington Park, West Hollywood, and Downtown Los Angeles. 

Dr. Saber graduated from Stanford University’s world-renowned medical school and did her plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the equally lauded University of Southern California. She then completed a fellowship at New York University in the extremely challenging and delicate disciplines of hand surgery and microsurgery.

Dr. Saber offers a more sensitive, female perspective for patients of all ages, genders, and orientations. Former patients from all walks of life have praised not only their treatment outcomes but her caring, thoughtful approach to a wide array of appearance and health-related matters.
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    Dr. Sepideh Saber, MD, FACS

    👩🏻‍⚕️ Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
    🏫 Stanford/USC/NYU Trained
    🏥 Encino, CA | Book a Free Consult
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Give us a call to set up a complimentary consultation with #DrSaber who will create a customized plan for you!

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    ✨ Our lovely patient came in for our Bilateral Breast Reduction procedure✨

The procedure gave her tremendous relief of back pain, neck and shoulder pain, bra strap grooving, and rashes under her breast folds. Our patient also feels much more comfortable wearing any type of clothes she likes. 

Give us a call to set up a complimentary consultation with #DrSaber who will create a customized plan for you!
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  • What patients say about Dr. Saber

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    I was fortunate to find Dr. Saber after researching board-certified surgeons who specialize in breast cancer reconstruction revision surgery. I knew I was in good hands from the moment I spoke with the lovely and efficient Marlene, Dr Saber's office manager. Dr Saber patiently listened to my concerns and, after examining me, explained what I could realistically expect the outcome to be from another surgery. She also explained to me that she would need to review my previous surgery notes before we could discuss a possible further surgery, which I found comforting and highly ethical. I also discussed a couple of other procedures that I would like done, including fat removal from my large upper arms that had caused me great embarrassment for several years. Dr. Saber is an excellent surgeon who is incredibly kind and genuine. She truly understands the female body and the emotional aspect of body insecurities yet, she is transparent about what can and cannot be done and takes time to discuss realistic expectations and outcomes. My breast reconstruction revision surgery will take place in the New Year, but in the meantime, I have the most fabulous upper arms that I recently flaunted in a strapless dress (something I have not done in years). Dr Saber is truly one of a kind, and I still cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found her. I highly recommend Dr Saber.

    Linda DeCarlo November 29, 2023

    I don’t have enough wonderful words to describe Dr Saber and Marlene! I had a tummy tuck done this year and from start to finish the entire experience was amazing. Marlene is always so helpful and works so hard to make every detail a breeze for you. When I had my consultation with Dr Saber I was at a point of complete agony with my body. She instantly took that stress and frustration off my shoulders! As a woman not being heard by doctors for years I left that consultation with happy tears knowing I had finally found my Dr. It was a major surgery and I felt completely zen and at peace going in because she really does make you feel that safe. I didn’t think I would ever look the way I do now! She gave me the gift of having the body I kept fighting for. I will never stop recommending her.

    Monica Prusa October 9, 2023

    I saw Dr. Saber when I broke my wrist. I ended up having to have surgery. She did an excellent job and I am healing nicely. She was very professional, but was also very kind and compassionate. I would highly recommend her!!

    Sandy Schaupp September 13, 2022

    I LOVED DR SABER!!! There are a few reasons why I chose her. One was because she’s a female Doctor that was my goal who also did a good job (which I was able to confirm with all her before and after photos) and what sold me was my safety in mind. She made me feel like I was in the best hands ever along with Marlene who coordinated everything THANK YOU LADIES! Dr Saber helped me get back the body I have always desired. I had a lot of stomach fat from weight gain and I lost weight so a lot of my weight was in my front lower and upper abdomen. Now I have a super beautiful curvy body like an hourglass after a tummy tuck and lipo she did. She understood the assignment hahaha . I’m 32 years old no kids just wanted to enjoy my younger body looking and feeling beautiful and she really took good care of me. Even after hours I had an emergency due to my fault but she was there and got back to me very quickly and I’m very grateful. I also think her work says a lot because I stopped taking pain medication on the 3rd day after surgery and was fine with very minimal pain I was able to tolerate the healing process. Highly recommend going with her I just had a wonderful experience and would do it all over again if I had too. Maybe after I have kids. Thanks Dr Saber and team <3

    STEPHANIE d July 15, 2022

    Dr.Saber is by far one of the best plastic surgeons. I love how she takes her time to explain any procedure to the patients understanding. She always makes sure to answers any and all questions.From fillers to body contours she’s the one you want.

    Katherine Melara February 15, 2022

    Dr Saber is amazing! She is caring and very informative. I went in for fillers and she explained procedure step by step. I highly recommend her and look forward to future visits.

    Amanda Vazquez December 18, 2020

    Dr. Saber was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. She took time to listen, answer all my questions and was forthright in her recommendations. Her staff was friendly and helpful. I was very happy with the results and plan on going back. If you are looking for a first rate professional experience look no further she is the doctor for you!

    T R December 18, 2020

    Dr. Saber is one of a kind plastic surgeon with a heart of gold. She is a well verse plastic surgeon that puts her patient's needs before anything else. She genuinely cares about every single patient, and her work speaks for itself. I notice every post-operative result on her Instagram (@saberplasticsurgery) the patients have this glow that radiates through. I have been going to Dr. Saber for my Botox for the past 3 years, and love the results every time. I know who I will be going to for any future plastic surgery needs, and will confidently refer family and friends to Dr. Saber for any Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery consultations.

    Rudy Garcia December 16, 2020

    I have nothing but great things to say about Dr. Saber! I am so pleased with my results from a breast augmentation she performed on me back in late June! She answered all my questions and concerns before and after my surgery. She’s very easy to get in contact with and she’s so nice. She made feel so comfortable throughout the whole process. 100/10 Lover her work!!

    Amanda Villegas October 15, 2020

    Dr Saber is hands down the best surgeon! She took her time answering my questions and explained procedure in detail. After doing liposuction six months ago, I am extremely happy with my results and I appreciate her so much.

    Marlene Cosentino October 15, 2020

    Dr. Saber is so kind and thorough with her patients! She is an amazing doctor and genuinely cars about everyone she comes in contact with. I would recommend her to anyone for any hand surgery or cosmetic procedure.

    Rachel Meach October 15, 2020