Rachael Knappier has a message for women wanting discount filler after she nearly lost her lip. Image: Twitter.
Rachael Knappier has a message for women wanting discount filler after she nearly lost her lip. Image: Twitter.

Woman’s botox party warning after lip deformation horror

When Rachael Knappier attended a friend's home Botox party she was initially just going to sit back and be a spectator.  

But, after a few glasses of wine she warmed up to the idea of getting something done so she put her hand up for some filler in her lips.  

"My friend had raved about this beautician and how great she was so I decided to go ahead," the 29-year-old woman from Leicestershire, in the UK told The Sun.  

The filler wasn't Rachael's first foray into injectables-she'd had her lips done before-the booze was flowing and she described a "conveyor belt with girls sitting in the kitchen waiting their turn"; so didn't notice something had gone horribly wrong with her treatment until it was too late.  

"The beautician - who I assumed at the time was a nurse - didn't ask me to sign any consent forms so alarm bells should have rung.

But being at a party with friends who she described as a "took away all the seriousness of having filler injected into my face.  

"She noticed the bump on my lip when she was doing my Botox and said she could inject a bit of filler for me if I wanted her to.  

"To be fair, she told me to go and have a think about it in the kitchen but she'd found my weakness. My lip is the one thing that really bothers me about my appearance."  

After she was given a little numbing cream Rachael agreed to have Teosyal-a hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler-injected.  

The UK woman remembered that the whole thing felt very painful. "Within a few hours I began to feel unwell," she said.

Adding, "My lips swelled like nothing I'd ever seen before and the pressure was unbearable."  

In a panic she facetimed the beautician who injected her and the woman told her to go to the hospital because she was having an allergic reaction.  

"At A&E they tested me for anaphylactic shock but three medics concluded I wasn't having an allergic reaction and told me to go back to the beautician for treatment to dissolve the fillers."

With her top lip splitting an even more distressed Rachael called her mum who told her she should get specialist help from a clinic in London.  

According to Knappier the Consultant Clinic in London said her condition was serious and they'd organise an emergency doctor.  

As she tells, "[A clinician] said that, based on looking at my pictures, her medical team suspected vascular occlusion, meaning that the filler had been injected into an artery and could lead to necrosis - death of soft tissue. I honestly thought I was going to die."  

After days of pain and worry, as well as, several doses of dissolving agents directly injected into her lips, Rachael's condition eased.

But it took months for her face to get back to normal.   She later discovered the woman injecting her face at the informal gathering had no medical training to speak of-and the product she injected may not have been Teosyal after all.  

"I would never go near a Botox party again. I'm cross that I didn't do my research and just assumed that everyone who injects Botox and fillers has been to medical school," Rachael says.  

"I could have had the same reaction to the filler with a doctor but the difference is that they would have known what to do to treat it."  

Nikki Milovanovic, a spokeswoman for the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) also spoke to The Sun and said that people operating informal injection studios in the UK posed a serious health risk.  

"Almost anyone can take qualification courses required to inject dermal fillers, which can be as short as half a day," says Milovanovic.  

"But fillers are unregulated so there's nothing stopping people from using the public as guinea pigs. Often the person administering injections is unable to recognise complications, let alone treat them."  

Thankfully in Australia Botox and dermal fillers are prescription-only products and only an experienced and qualified medical doctor, or a nurse under the supervision of a doctor can administer them.  

But according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration counterfeit dermal filler products imported from overseas still prove a problem on the black market.  

"These can be difficult to identify," says the government watchdog's website.

"The best way to avoid them is to only ever source prescription products from a medical professional who is registered in Australia."  

The TGA also advises people wanting filler to "be aware of heavily advertised and discounted procedures."