What is Aspiration? 

Aspiration is an essential part of safe practice when injecting dermal fillers. This technique is one way to find out if the needle is inside a blood vessel before placing the product. There are many research articles available debating whether or not this is an effective method, but we prefer to always teach our students aspiration. To aspirate, place the needle in the desired place of injection, pull back the plunger, and hold for 10 seconds. If you receive a negative reaction (no blood pooling in your syringe), you are most likely not inside a vessel. If there is blood in the syringe during aspiration that could mean there is a blood vessel there, and it’s not safe to inject. Patient safety should always be the top priority of a nurse injector. Aspiration is simply another tool in the toolbox of practicing safely. 

Why is Aspirating Important? 

An intra-arterial injection of filler could result in the blockage of blood flow, leading to possible skin necrosis and scarring. There could also be an embolisation of the filler, which can cause blindness if it enters the central retinal artery. Aspiration is an extra precaution one can take to make sure their patient’s safety is not at risk. Physicians have been advised to aspirate before every dermal filler injection. Dangers If You Do Not Aspirate

The blockage of blood flow is called a Vascular Occlusion. When blood flow is diminished, the surrounding tissue is no longer being fed nutrients from the blood, and begins to die. These emergencies have been cited as one of the most feared and severe complications in aesthetic treatment. MAAI’s Aesthetic ER course outlines the following signs of a vascular occlusion:

Pain (Immediate or disproportionate pain)

Purple (Blanching. Unhealthy appearance of tissue)

Pallar (Purple lace appearance, or reticularis)

Polar (Decreased skin temperature, cooler than unaffected tissue)

Perfusion (Lack of blood flow to the tissue, slow capillary refill of 3 seconds or less)

How Can You Be Prepared? 

Practicing safe techniques to prevent complications is top priority for anyone injecting dermal fillers. The best way to prepare yourself for a vascular emergency is to take training, and keep yourself updated on education pieces geared toward this subject. Aspiration is a focus in our courses to help prevent these adverse events. Like Yvonne Dellos, FNP always says, “If you don’t know how to fix the complication to the procedure you’re performing, perhaps you shouldn’t be performing the procedure in the first place.”

Our Aesthetic ER training is launching mid September, and pre-registration is available now.

This course will include a kit, allowing you to feel prepared at all times with the tools and medications needed to save a patient in the event of a vascular occlusion. As this is the first training and kit of it’s kind in the industry, it will be a big game changer in the Aesthetic world. These kits will answer the prayers of any injector who encounters a vascular occlusion.


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