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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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

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