Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid and is naturally occurring in our bodies. It can also be delivered as an injection to increase the absorption of drugs and reduce tissue damage in cases of extravasation injury or extensive bruising. In the case of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, hyaluronidase is essential for the correction of complications and unsatisfactory results. Whilst hyaluronidase is the generic name of this product, there are several brands including Hyalase, Hylenex and Vitrase.
Hyaluronidase has been around as a drug for over 60 years. It is approved by the FDA for use in fluid infusion, to speed up the absorption of medicines and in certain ultrasound procedures. In aesthetics, it is used by medical professionals to dissolve hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. As such it is very useful in managing lumps, asymmetry, inflammation and if clients change their mind about treatment. Beyond that, it can also dissolve filler that is compressing a blood vessel which is an emergency.
How quickly hyaluronidase takes to dissolve hyaluronic acid dermal fillers depends on the type and amount of filler, how much is injected and where it is injected. Usually a reduction in hyaluronic acid dermal filler can be seen or felt almost immediately after injection and it usually continues to work for up to 3-6 hours after injection. Since there is usually a lot of swelling after injecting hyaluronidase, we usually advise waiting for up to 3 days for that to go down so that the final result can be seen. It is however difficult to predict how much enzyme will be needed to dissolve filler and repeat treatments maybe needed if the aim is to completely dissolve filler.
Most brands of hyaluronidase are derived from animal tissues that are then cleaned up before using in humans. Some products are made from human albumin or even synthetised in the laboratory. Regardless, there is a risk of allergic reaction. To avoid this, a patch test is necessary before injecting the enzyme except for in an emergency. Other potential side effects include swelling, bleeding, discoloration of the skin, infection, inflammation, scarring and over or under correction.
Hyaluronidase is a prescription only medicine and can only be administered by a trained medical professional such as a doctor, dentist or nurse prescriber.
Hyaluronidase does not destroy your own tissue. It can however dissolve some of your own hyaluronic acid. This is however temporary as your body makes new hyaluronic acid every 24-48 hours. Therefore, it can quickly replace any of your own hyaluronic acid. As such, there is no long standing effect on your own naturally occurring hyaluronic acid from these injections.
The cost of hyaluronidase treatment depends on your reasons for needing hyaluronic acid injected, whether it is being dissolved by the clinic that originally performed your dermal filler treatments and how many courses of hyaluronidase injections are needed.
At City Skin Clinic, we only perform hyaluronidase for patients who have had their treatment with us and either need a correction or no longer want fillers. We do not charge them for this treatment. We also keep hyaluronidase in every clinic room in case of emergencies.