Can You Get Fillers if You Have an Autoimmune Disease?

Medically Reviewed
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aurora Kalmanson on
Written by Fillers Editorial Team, plastic surgery specialists.

Individuals with autoimmune diseases often question the safety of undergoing cosmetic procedures like dermal filler injections. The concern stems from the potential for their condition to interact with the treatment, possibly leading to complications.

However, current medical insights suggest that, with proper management and timing, patients with well-controlled autoimmune diseases may safely receive dermal fillers. It is crucial to avoid treatments during active phases of the disease, known as flare-ups, and to have a thorough understanding of one’s medical history and current medication. While there is no definitive evidence linking dermal fillers to the onset of autoimmune diseases or guaranteed adverse reactions solely due to the presence of such conditions, the decision to proceed with filler treatments should be made cautiously and on an individual basis.

Safety Profile of Dermal Fillers in Autoimmune Disease Patients

The safety of dermal fillers in patients with autoimmune diseases is a nuanced topic, requiring a personalized approach to evaluate the balance between aesthetic desires and health risks.

Evaluating the Risks

Potential for Type 4 Hypersensitivity Reactions: Type 4 hypersensitivity, also known as delayed-type hypersensitivity, is a concern when considering dermal fillers for patients with autoimmune diseases. This reaction involves the immune system’s T-cells and can manifest days to weeks after exposure to an allergen or antigen. In the context of dermal fillers, this could mean a heightened risk of inflammatory responses, such as redness, swelling, or the formation of nodules at the injection site. While not all patients with autoimmune diseases will experience such reactions, the potential for an exacerbated immune response should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider before proceeding with treatment.

Delayed Onset Complications (Nodules and Granulomas): Delayed onset complications, including the formation of nodules and granulomas, are rare but serious concerns associated with dermal fillers. These complications can arise weeks, months, or even years after the injection and may present as firm lumps under the skin. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, it is believed that these nodules and granulomas may result from an immune system reaction to the filler material. Patients with autoimmune diseases may be at an increased risk for such complications due to their already sensitive immune systems. It is essential for patients and practitioners to be aware of these risks and to monitor for any signs of complications following dermal filler treatments.

Contraindications and Recommendations

Active vs. Remission Phases of Autoimmune Diseases: The decision to proceed with dermal fillers in the context of autoimmune diseases hinges on the current state of the disease. During active phases, or flare-ups, the immune system is highly reactive, and the risk of complications from fillers is elevated. Conversely, during remission, when disease symptoms are minimal or absent, the risk is reduced. It is imperative for practitioners to ascertain the phase of the autoimmune disease before administering fillers. Patients should be in a period of remission, and even then, a cautious approach is warranted. Continuous monitoring and open communication between the patient and practitioner are essential to navigate the timing of treatments safely.

Treatment During Flare-Ups: Administering dermal fillers during an autoimmune flare-up is widely discouraged. Flare-ups indicate heightened immune activity, which can increase the likelihood of adverse reactions to fillers, such as excessive swelling, redness, or the formation of nodules. Manufacturers and experts alike advise against elective cosmetic procedures during this time to avoid exacerbating the condition or triggering new complications. It is crucial for patients to be transparent about their autoimmune status and for practitioners to adhere to these guidelines to ensure patient safety.

Precautions During Remission: Even during periods of remission, when autoimmune symptoms are controlled, certain precautions should be taken before proceeding with dermal fillers. Patients should undergo a thorough evaluation to confirm the stability of their condition. Practitioners should also consider the type of filler and its components, as some materials may have a higher risk of triggering an immune response. A conservative approach, including possibly conducting a patch test or choosing fillers that are easily reversible, may be advisable to mitigate potential risks.

Managing Dermal Filler Treatments for Autoimmune Patients

Navigating dermal filler treatments for patients with autoimmune diseases requires a tailored approach, prioritizing safety and patient-specific factors.

Pre-Treatment Considerations

Comprehensive Medical History Review: A detailed medical history is the cornerstone of safe dermal filler treatment in autoimmune patients. This review should encompass the type and severity of the autoimmune condition, current and past treatments, medication use, and any previous reactions to fillers or other injectables. Understanding the patient’s overall health status and autoimmune disease history enables practitioners to make informed decisions about the suitability and timing of dermal filler treatments. It also helps in anticipating potential complications and planning for their management. This step is not just about gathering information but also about building a rapport and trust between the patient and the practitioner, ensuring that the patient’s health and aesthetic goals are aligned and approached with caution.

Understanding Medication Interactions: Medications commonly used to manage autoimmune diseases can have significant interactions with dermal fillers. Immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other treatments may alter the body’s response to fillers, potentially affecting both the efficacy and safety of the procedure. It is essential for practitioners to have a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medication regimen, including any over-the-counter supplements or alternative therapies being used. This knowledge helps in anticipating how the body might react to fillers and in adjusting treatment plans accordingly. For instance, certain medications might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising at the injection site, or affect the longevity of the filler.

Understanding Flare-Ups and Timing of Treatment: Recognizing the signs of an autoimmune flare-up and its implications for dermal filler treatment is critical. Flare-ups can cause an increase in systemic inflammation, which may not only heighten the risk of adverse reactions to fillers but also compromise the healing process. Timing of treatment in relation to the patient’s disease activity is a delicate balance that requires careful consideration. Treatments should ideally be scheduled during periods of remission and may need to be postponed if there is any indication of an impending or ongoing flare-up. This approach minimizes potential complications and ensures that the treatment is conducted under the safest possible conditions.

Post-Treatment Management

Monitoring for Adverse Reactions: Vigilant monitoring for adverse reactions following dermal filler treatments is especially important in patients with autoimmune diseases. Practitioners should provide clear instructions on what signs to look for, such as unusual swelling, redness, pain, or the formation of nodules. Patients should be encouraged to report any concerns promptly, as early detection of adverse reactions can lead to more effective management and better outcomes. Follow-up appointments should be scheduled to assess the treatment area and to ensure that the patient is healing as expected. This proactive approach is key to managing potential complications and maintaining patient trust and satisfaction.

Use of Steroids, Antibiotics, and Hyaluronidase: In the event of complications such as inflammation or infection, the use of steroids, antibiotics, or hyaluronidase may be considered. Steroids can help reduce severe inflammatory reactions, while antibiotics are used to treat or prevent infections. Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that can dissolve hyaluronic acid-based fillers, which is particularly useful in cases where the filler needs to be removed due to complications. Each of these treatments has its own indications and potential side effects, and their use must be carefully weighed against the benefits in the context of the patient’s overall health and autoimmune condition.

Case Reports and Treatment Outcomes: Case reports and treatment outcomes provide valuable insights into managing dermal filler treatments in patients with autoimmune diseases. They offer real-world examples of complications and their resolutions, helping practitioners to understand the range of possible scenarios and to develop strategies for dealing with similar issues. Analyzing these reports can also contribute to a better understanding of risk factors and the effectiveness of various management approaches. Sharing experiences and outcomes within the medical community is crucial for improving patient care and advancing the field of aesthetic medicine.

Informed Consent and Patient Decision-Making

Discussing Potential Risks and Benefits: Informed consent is a fundamental aspect of any medical procedure, and this is particularly pertinent when considering dermal fillers for patients with autoimmune diseases. It is the practitioner’s responsibility to discuss with the patient the potential risks, such as inflammatory reactions or infection, as well as the benefits, including aesthetic improvement and increased self-confidence. This conversation should be comprehensive, covering not only the immediate effects but also long-term considerations. Patients should be made aware of the possibility of delayed complications and the measures that can be taken to address them. Understanding the risks and benefits allows patients to make an educated decision about their treatment, ensuring that their expectations are realistic and aligned with their health status.

Importance of Full Medical Disclosure: Full medical disclosure by the patient is crucial for safe dermal filler treatments. Patients should be encouraged to share their complete health history, including all medications, past treatments, and details of their autoimmune disease. This transparency allows practitioners to tailor the treatment plan to the patient’s specific needs and to anticipate potential interactions or complications. It also ensures that any contraindications are identified early on, preventing adverse outcomes. A thorough understanding of the patient’s medical background is essential for informed consent and for the practitioner’s ability to provide the best possible care.

Assessing Disease Control and Medication: Before proceeding with dermal filler treatments, it is essential to assess the level of control over the patient’s autoimmune disease and the medications they are taking. This assessment should consider the stability of the disease, the effectiveness of current medications, and any potential side effects that could impact the filler treatment. It is also important to evaluate the patient’s history of disease flare-ups and remission periods. This information helps in determining the appropriate timing for treatment and in making any necessary adjustments to the patient’s medication regimen in consultation with their primary care provider or specialist.

Timing of Treatment Relative to Disease Activity: The timing of dermal filler treatments in relation to the activity of an autoimmune disease is a critical factor in the decision-making process. Treatments should ideally be scheduled during periods of low disease activity or remission to minimize the risk of complications. Patients and practitioners should work together to monitor the disease and choose a time for treatment when the immune system is least likely to react adversely. This careful timing, along with ongoing disease management, helps to ensure the safety and efficacy of the treatment and to optimize patient outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dermal fillers cause an autoimmune disease to flare up?

While there is no definitive evidence that dermal fillers cause autoimmune diseases to flare up, it is possible that the immune response to the filler material could trigger inflammation in susceptible individuals.

Are there any autoimmune diseases that are absolute contraindications for fillers?

There are no absolute contraindications, but certain conditions, such as active systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma, may increase the risk of complications and are generally approached with caution.

What precautions should be taken when considering fillers with an autoimmune condition?

Patients should ensure their disease is well-controlled, avoid treatments during flare-ups, and consult with their healthcare provider to assess the risks and benefits.

How does one manage a complication from dermal fillers if they have an autoimmune disease?

Management may involve medications like steroids or hyaluronidase and should be guided by a healthcare professional experienced in both dermatology and autoimmune conditions.

How long should I wait after a flare-up to get dermal fillers?

It is generally recommended to wait until the autoimmune disease has been in remission for a stable period, often several months, before considering dermal fillers.


In conclusion, while dermal fillers can be safely used in many individuals with autoimmune diseases, careful consideration of the disease state, medication interactions, and timing of treatment is essential. Open communication between patient and practitioner, along with informed consent, ensures that decisions are made with a full understanding of the potential risks and benefits. As with any medical procedure, individual circumstances will dictate the best course of action, and ongoing research will continue to inform best practices in this evolving field.

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Pieretti, G., Rafaniello, C., Fraenza, F., Donniacuo, M., Cuomo, R., Lanzano, G., Ciccarelli, F., Capuano, A., & Nicoletti, G. (2023). Hyaluronic acid-based fillers in patients with autoimmune inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Aurora Kalmanson

Always Consult a Medical Specialist

The information provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as personalized medical advice. It's crucial to understand that while we are medical professionals, the insights and advice we provide are based on general research and studies. They are not tailored to individual health needs or conditions. Thus, it is essential to consult directly with a healthcare provider who can offer personalized medical advice relevant to your specific situation.