Study finds no microbial growth within residual hyaluronic acid fillers, suggesting a low risk for reuse.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the space between skin cells. Due to it’s high absorbency, it is responsible for much of the volume and rigidity of human skin. The amount of hyaluronic acid present in your body decreases naturally with age, making skin more prone to wrinkles.
Because of this, hyaluronic acid injections are commonly used as a face filler to alleviate wrinkles, scars, and sunken skin. A low number of adverse reactions, ease of storage, and long duration of action make it a popular aesthetic treatment. Manufacturers recommend a single use for each hyaluronic acid package. Due to the cost of the drug, however, syringe contents are often stored for reuse on the same patient.
A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology evaluated the safety of storing and reusing hyaluronic acid fillers by analyzing their microbiological content. This observational cross-sectional study conducted by a research team in Brazil, collected a total of 31 hyaluronic acid fillers previously used in doctors’ offices. Needles were removed immediately after aseptic application and syringes were capped and placed in their original packaging. Syringes were stored both at room temperature or 4°C for a time ranging from 2 to 20 months. After storage, the residual hyaluronic acid was seeded in culture media for aerobic/anaerobic bacteria, mycobacteria, and fungi for a period of 44 days, and subsequently analyzed for microbial growth.
After the incubation period, none of the samples exhibited bacterial or fungal growth. Although this study is limited by a small sample size, past investigations show similar results. A previous study examining 500 cases of hyaluronic acid reuse failed to observe any cases of infection or complications. Other investigations report very low rates of adverse reactions and even lower infection rates for patients treated with hyaluronic acid. The present study provides a microbiological basis for this association.
Written By: Agustin Dominguez Iino, BSc