Lip Filler Cyst – Addressing Symptoms and Solutions

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

Lip filler cysts are a potential complication arising from lip augmentation procedures, particularly when fillers are improperly administered. These cysts can manifest as lumps or nodules in the lips, causing aesthetic concerns and sometimes discomfort.

While not all lumps following filler injections are cause for alarm, persistent or bothersome cysts may require medical attention. Treatment options range from conservative management, such as massage, to medical interventions like the administration of hyaluronidase or surgical removal. Preventative measures include selecting a qualified injector and adhering to proper aftercare instructions.

Symptoms and Appearance of Lip Filler Cysts

Lip filler cysts can present a range of symptoms and appearances, from subtle irregularities to noticeable deformities that affect the overall aesthetics and feel of the lips.

Visible Lumps or Bumps on the Lips

Size and Shape of Cysts: The size and shape of lip filler cysts can vary significantly, with some being barely perceptible and others quite pronounced. Small cysts may only be felt when touching the lips, while larger ones can be visible to the naked eye, creating an uneven lip surface. The shape of these cysts can also differ; some maintain a round, dome-like appearance, while others may be more irregular, depending on the amount and distribution of the filler material, as well as the body’s response to it. The presence of these cysts can affect the symmetry and smoothness of the lips, leading to dissatisfaction with the cosmetic outcome.

Color and Texture Changes: Lip filler cysts can lead to changes in the color and texture of the lips. The affected area may exhibit a different hue compared to the surrounding lip tissue, sometimes presenting a bluish tint known as the Tyndall effect if the filler is placed too superficially. Texture changes are also common, with the skin over the cyst potentially feeling thicker or uneven. These changes can be distressing to patients, as they are often visible and tangible. In some cases, the discoloration and textural irregularities may persist until the cyst is treated or the filler is absorbed or removed by the body.

Pain or Tenderness at the Cyst Site

Pain or tenderness at the site of a lip filler cyst is a symptom that can range from mild discomfort to significant soreness, particularly when pressure is applied to the area. This tenderness is often an indication of inflammation or infection and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling. The degree of pain can also provide clues about the nature of the cyst; for example, a more acute pain might suggest an infectious process, while a dull ache could be associated with a foreign body reaction. It is important for individuals experiencing pain after lip filler injections to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Firmness or Hardness of the Cyst

The consistency of a lip filler cyst can vary, with some presenting as soft and pliable, while others are noticeably firm or hard. A firmer cyst may indicate a granulomatous reaction or the presence of calcification within the cyst. The hardness of a cyst can contribute to discomfort and can be particularly problematic if it affects the natural movement or function of the lips. The firmness of the cyst is an important factor to consider during diagnosis and treatment planning, as it may influence the choice of treatment approach, including whether massage, injection of dissolving agents, or surgical intervention is indicated.

Potential for Infection

Signs of Infection (Redness, Swelling, Pus): Infection is a serious complication that can occur with lip filler cysts. Signs of an infection include redness around the cyst, increased swelling, warmth to the touch, and the presence of pus or discharge. In some cases, the patient may also experience fever or generalized illness. It is crucial to address an infected cyst promptly to prevent the spread of the infection and more severe systemic effects. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and may require drainage of the cyst. In cases where a biofilm is suspected, more extensive treatment may be necessary to fully get rid of the infection.

Treatment Options for Lip Filler Cysts

A variety of treatment options are available for lip filler cysts, ranging from non-invasive approaches to medical interventions, depending on the severity and characteristics of the cysts.

Conservative Management

Observation and Monitoring: For smaller lip filler cysts that do not cause significant discomfort or aesthetic concern, a conservative approach of observation and monitoring may be recommended. This involves regular check-ups to assess any changes in the size or nature of the cysts over time. Many cysts may resolve spontaneously as the body gradually absorbs the filler material. During the monitoring period, patients are advised to report any new symptoms, such as increased pain or changes in the appearance of the cysts, which could indicate the need for a more active treatment approach.

Warm Compresses to Promote Drainage: Warm compresses can be an effective conservative treatment to promote drainage of lip filler cysts. The warmth helps to increase blood flow to the area, which can facilitate the breakdown and dispersal of the filler material. Patients are often instructed to apply a warm compress to the affected area for short periods several times a day. This method can be particularly beneficial for cysts that are not infected and are soft enough to respond to such treatment. It is a non-invasive option that can be done at home, providing a gentle way to encourage natural resolution of the cysts.

Drainage and Extraction Techniques

Needle Aspiration of Cyst Contents: Needle aspiration is a minimally invasive procedure used to drain the contents of lip filler cysts. Under sterile conditions, a fine needle is inserted into the cyst to withdraw the filler material. This technique is often used for cysts that have not responded to conservative management and are causing discomfort or aesthetic concerns. Aspiration can provide immediate relief from the pressure and fullness associated with the cyst. However, it may not be a permanent solution, as some cysts can refill, particularly if the underlying cause is not addressed.

Incision and Drainage for Larger Cysts: For larger or more persistent cysts, incision and drainage may be necessary. This procedure involves making a small cut over the cyst. It is typically performed under local anesthesia and may require a more extensive recovery period than needle aspiration. Incision and drainage can be more effective for larger cysts or those that have become calcified, as it allows for the complete removal of the cyst contents and the capsule surrounding it, reducing the likelihood of recurrence.

Intralesional Steroid Injections for Inflammatory Cysts

Intralesional steroid injections are used to treat inflammatory lip filler cysts, particularly those presenting as granulomas. Steroids, such as cortisone, are injected directly into the cyst to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune response. This can lead to a decrease in cyst size and relief from pain and tenderness. The treatment may require multiple injections over a period of time, and the response to steroids can vary among patients. While effective for many, steroid injections carry the risk of side effects, including skin atrophy or discoloration at the injection site, which must be weighed against the benefits.

Hyaluronidase Injections for Hyaluronic Acid Filler Cysts

Mechanism of Action: Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of hyaluronic acid, the most common substance used in lip fillers. When injected into a lip filler cyst, hyaluronidase rapidly dissolves the hyaluronic acid-based filler, leading to a decrease in cyst size and an improvement in associated symptoms. This treatment is specific to hyaluronic acid fillers and is not effective for cysts caused by other types of filler materials. Hyaluronidase injections can be a preferred option for patients seeking a non-surgical method to address complications from hyaluronic acid fillers, offering a quick and targeted approach to resolving cysts.

Dosage and Technique: The dosage and technique of hyaluronidase injections are critical for effectively dissolving hyaluronic acid-based lip filler cysts. The amount of hyaluronidase required depends on the size of the cyst and the volume of filler to be dissolved. A skilled practitioner will carefully calculate the appropriate dose and strategically inject it into multiple points around the cyst to ensure even distribution of the enzyme. The technique involves a series of small injections using a fine needle, with the goal of covering the entire affected area without causing unnecessary trauma to the surrounding tissues. Patients may see results immediately or within a few days, and additional sessions may be necessary for complete resolution of the cyst.

Surgical Excision for Persistent or Recurrent Cysts

Surgical excision is considered for persistent or recurrent lip filler cysts that do not respond to less invasive treatments. This procedure involves the complete removal of the cyst, including its capsule, to prevent recurrence. Performed under local anesthesia, surgical excision requires precision and expertise to minimize scarring and preserve the natural contour of the lips. Post-operative care is essential to ensure proper healing and optimal cosmetic results. Surgical excision is typically reserved for cases where other treatments have failed or when the cyst’s characteristics, such as calcification, make it unlikely to respond to conservative measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can lip filler cysts go away on their own?

Some lip filler cysts may go away on their own as the body gradually absorbs the filler material, especially if they are small and not causing symptoms.

How common are lip filler cysts?

Lip filler cysts are relatively uncommon, but the risk increases with improper injection techniques or when using unqualified practitioners.

Are lip filler cysts dangerous or harmful?

Lip filler cysts are typically not dangerous, but they can cause discomfort and aesthetic concerns. In rare cases, they may indicate an infection or other complications.

How long does it take for lip filler cysts to go away after treatment?

The time it takes for lip filler cysts to go away after treatment varies, depending on the treatment method used and the individual's response.

Will treating a lip filler cyst affect the overall lip augmentation result?

Treating a lip filler cyst may affect the overall lip augmentation result, but skilled practitioners can often correct or minimize these changes.

Can massaging the lips help prevent or treat filler cysts?

Massaging the lips immediately after filler injections can help prevent cysts by ensuring even distribution, but it should be done cautiously and under professional guidance.

Is it necessary to remove the filler material to treat a cyst?

It may be necessary to remove the filler material to treat a cyst, especially if it is causing significant symptoms or if there is an infection.

Can lip filler cysts recur after treatment?

Lip filler cysts can recur after treatment, particularly if the underlying cause is not addressed or if the patient continues to receive fillers.


Lip filler cysts, while not common, are a potential complication of lip augmentation procedures. Understanding their causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for both practitioners and patients. Preventative measures, such as selecting a qualified injector and following proper aftercare, can reduce the risk of cyst formation. If cysts do occur, various treatments are available, ranging from conservative approaches to surgical interventions. Patients should be vigilant about any changes in their lips post-procedure and seek medical advice if they experience persistent symptoms, signs of infection, or recurrent cysts. With informed decisions and proper care, the risks associated with lip fillers can be managed effectively, leading to safe and satisfying results.

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Monnet, P., Bagot, M., Rivet, J., Roux, J., Petit, A., & Al-Hage, J. (2022). Epidermal cyst formation of the lip following autologous fat transplant.

Haneke E. (2015). Managing Complications of Fillers: Rare and Not-So-Rare.

Eversole, R., Tran, K., Hansen, D., & Campbell, J. (2013). Lip augmentation dermal filler reactions, histopathologic features.

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.