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Warning after lip filler injection goes wrong

Rachael Knappier says her lips swelled up so much that they touched her nose Credit: Rachael Knappier

A woman from Leicester who nearly lost her lips after receiving filler injections says the procedure should only be performed by people who are medically trained.

29-year-old Rachael Knappier got the filler injections at a friend's house by a beautician who had noticed a small bump on one side of her lip.

The beautician told Rachael that the bump could be 'evened out' by injecting the opposite side of her lip with filler.

After receiving the injection, Rachael said she experienced a sharp pain in the top of her lip but was told that this was perfectly normal.

After going to bed, she woke up at 2am to find that her lips had suffered major swelling to the point that they touched her nose.

I didn't really know what to do. I'd never seen anything quite as big as what my lips were on my own face. I was shocked, I was panicked, I was really scared.

– Rachael Knappier
Credit: Rachael Knappier

Rachael then contacted the beautician on FaceTime, who appeared shocked by the results.

She told Rachael that she was having an allergic reaction, urging her to take anti-histamine and get to A&E.

However when Rachael arrived at the hospital, doctors told her there was little they could do and that she would need to go back to the beautician to get the filler in her lips 'dissolved'.

My biggest fear was that I was going to look like that for the rest of my life. That my lips were always going to be that size. That they were going to get bigger. That my lip was going to die. All those emotions go through your mind.

– Rachael Knappier
Credit: Rachael Knappier

After seeing a local aesthetic nurse, Rachael was told that the filler injection had led to necrosis, which had begun to destroy the soft tissue of her lip.

Her only option was to visit a private clinic in London where staff were able to dissolve the filler, and her lips returned to normal after a few days.

Rachael was told that the major swelling on her lips had probably been caused because the filler had been injected close to an artery or vein, leading to a vascular occlusion, when the blood flow to an area of the body is reduced or stopped completely.

The swelling on Rachael's lips has since reduced Credit: Rachael Knappier/Facebook

As it stands there is no legislation in the UK that prevents non-medical professionals from delivering injectable cosmetic treatments.

Rachael says she now wants to raise awareness about the dangers of receiving cosmetic procedures such as filler and botox by people who are not medically trained.

Don't go to a beautician would be my advice. But equally, do your research, check it out for yourself, ask the questions. They will give you the answers if you ask them and if they don't then there's your warning sign. But make sure that they are medically trained to treat you if something goes wrong.

– Rachael Knappier.

She says beauticians like the one she saw are not able to deliver vital emergency medical care if things go wrong.

Her petition has so far reached more than 1800 signatures.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are currently exploring options to strengthen regulation of cosmetic procedures and improve the safety through better training, robust qualifications for practitioners, and better information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

“We urge anyone seeking a cosmetic procedure to take the time to find a reputable, safe, and qualified practitioner who is subject to statutory regulation, or on a voluntary register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.”