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Is Aquamid Safe?

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta June 28, 2008 16 Comments
Aquamid is undergoing an approval process before it can be sold in the US. Already popular in Europe, there is something seductive about it. Aquamid is a "soft" volume filler that is injected to fill out dreaded nasolabial folds, sunken cheeks and wrinkles. It sounds super safe, based on its 97.5% proportion of water. What could be unsafe about injecting oneself with something that makes up 80% of our body?

The thing about Aquamid is that it is considered to be permanent. This is because the other 2.5% is polyacrylamide, which is made from polymerized acrylamide. Polyacrylamide is not harmful, but acrylamide is considered a dangerous neurotoxin. It seems that it is perfectly possible for unpolymerized acryalmide - the poisonous stuff - to turn up in polyacrylamide. And in 1997, there was a research study that claimed that "under normal environmental conditions" (I'm not sure if that includes being inside human skin) it degrades and releases acrylamide.

The manufacturers of polyacrylamide fillers say that they take care to remove the acrylamide neurotoxins and that the polacrylamide is not bio-degradable. The company behind Aquamid, Contura International, has results of a five-year study of 116 patients that demonstrates "good" or "very good" esthetic results with "very few" adverse events.

Nevertheless, there are reports of things going wrong. In 2005, a Danish study looked at 44,000 women who were injected with Aquamid, of which 55 reported adverse reactions (swelling or nodules). 51 of them required treatment. I have found women reporting bacterial infections, weeping solution and swelling as recently as April 2008. A Polish study in 2006 on late stage complications after Aquamid injections was published in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Last month Spanish researchers at a university in Barcelona said that they found infrequent but severe cases of immune-related side effects and that polyacrylamide and water-based injections could no longer be considered safe.
  • October 25, 2014

    by Katherine

    Also, you cannot remove aquamid from the nose, the tumors are just going to slowly push my face out of shape. You've been warned.

  • October 25, 2014

    by Katherine

    I had an aquamid rhynoplasty and now have tumors growing in my nose with lumps that you can see. It's every bit as lovely as it sounds. I am in pain and there are growing complications. Aquamid is a ticking time-bomb. This was done by the so-called Sydney expert in aquamid and should be struck off the register for this and other damage he did to me leaving me with damaged nerves, tumors etc. He took no responsibility whatsoever. Perhaps he will pay in other ways because he is now so plastic himself it's not funny.

    There was my report and many other reports on the web about aquamid disasters and I note that these have all now been removed. The world is an evil, evil place. DON'T TOUCH AQUAMID. IN TEN YEARS, YOU'LL BE VERY, VERY SORRY YOU DID.

  • April 18, 2013

    by C Steel

    I had Aquamid injected in my lips 4 years ago. Loved the result and have experienced no side effects.
    I think it's more to do with the person injecting you than the filler itself.

    Cori
    NZ

  • November 20, 2012

    by rik

    I had aquamid (3ml) in my cheek - filling a very deep line/wrinkle - this was over 10 years ago. I have had no problems what-so-ever, and it has lost none of the fill and still looks good.
    Rik
    Melbourne

  • August 9, 2011

    by Dr. John Flynn

    I was alerted to this site by a patient of mine who has Aquamid (no complications). it is most important for people to have accurate information about all fillers, indeed all cosmetic procedures. The Danish study quoted did indeed study 40,000 patients and reported 55 reactions. However it is important to note that of those, most were problems cause by the injector not using the product correctly. in fact 30% of patients had known contraindications to using Aquamid yet the injector still went ahead. The lesson here is to make sure you go to a doctor who understands the product and who takes a careful history. Complications can be treated well and effectively by doctors who know how to do so. Those with no idea are flying blind and invariably MAKE THINGS WORSE. The FDA and other jurisdictions can regulate a product but there is not enough regulation on the injectors. They need to be properly trained.
    Overall Aquamid is a safe product when used correctly but EVERY product and procedure carries an inherent risk, however small that might be.

  • July 27, 2011

    by anna

    9 yrs after aquamid filler i am having the most awefull complications. ist a granuloma which slowly grew to involve my upper lip to my nose, followed by a recent steroid injection after which the thing has run wild over my face. in london not many specialists seem to know whats going on...any ideas? ambrocklebank@gmail.com plse reply to my email as im not sure if i will find this site again as i am new to a lap top and find a good site then loose it....dear god im obviosly loosing my mind as well as my looks!!

  • October 13, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Vanessa
    I believe it is possible to remove Aquamid. However, I believe the procedure is tricky and some scarring is likely. On the other hand, there is a German paper that says that it is easy, even after several years: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20811192. One option would be to post your question on a website called Medicalspamd.com, which is a forum used by professionals and where responses tend to be candid. http://medicalspamd.com/. Another is to find a doctor in Europe, where they have much more experience of this treatment.

  • October 12, 2010

    by vanessa

    i also had aquamid injected into my lips about 2 years ago. after reading all this material i would also like it removed. However, i cannot find any information about a suregon that can perform this procedure. Nor can i seem to find any information on the success of removal.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Vanessa

  • October 29, 2009

    by nena

    I had aquamid injected in my lips many years ago and a few months ago i started swelling and having hard lumps I had to do an operation to remove as much as the doctor could I am better but i will have to undergo at least one more surgery

  • September 4, 2009

    by Rafael

    Can I use/ Inject aquamid to make a high nose bridge ?

  • June 27, 2009

    by tina

    any side effects to aquamid for buttock inhancement?

  • May 22, 2009

    by giovanna

    I had aquamid injected in my cheeks 3 years ago and now i am living a nightmare,please dont let this poison be FDA aproved, i am in and out of ER because of this,after 5 months of batle to try to save my face , my doctor(Guy Lin) at the Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC will try the last treatment to avoid cutting my cheeks and removing tissues,fat,muscle & aquamid leaving me with a deformed face forever...I really hope the STEROIDS can save my face.

  • September 16, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>I did some research on this and found most of the good information is in Denmark (where the stuff originated). One clinical study looked at 40,000 people and concluded:</p>

    <p>"Conclusions AEs presenting clinically as nodules or swellings later than 1 week and less than 1 year after the injection of polyacrylamide hydrogel (Aquamid) should be treated immediately with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (quinolone) in high dosage. Steroids or NSAIDs are contraindicated."</p>

    <p>So I would get yourself to your doctor and get some Quinolone antibiotic (do not take a steroid - it makes it worse) and it should take the swelling down.</p>

  • September 16, 2008

    by Paul

    <p>Please help ! <br />
    I had Aquamid filler in the lines on each side of my mouth in early July and the left side has blown up in the last 4 days. It's hurting and my face is distorted. I look terrible. What is it and can anyone help ?</p>

  • June 29, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Thank you so much for taking the time write and your kind words. Please feel free to make requests/suggestions for topics to cover. No one is more surprised than me that TIA seems to meeting a real need. And we're growing! You'll be seeing some new names posting blogs over the coming weeks as I'm expanding from a team of one plus cheerleading friends. Thanks again Crissy for reading me.</p>

  • June 29, 2008

    by Crissy Stewart

    <p>I seriously love this blog. The wealth of information here is a gold mine. It's frustrating reading the same press, uninformed reviews and phony buzz surrounding the myriad of beauty products available. Thank you for all the research that you do. Can't wait for the next post! Thanks for reading.</p>

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