A woman quickly regretted her spontaneous decision to get fillers after her lips swelled up to quadruple the size.
29-year-old Rachael Knappier had previously visited a local, highly-qualified, aesthetics nurse for a small dose of filler in her top lip, and although she was due a top-up, she wasn’t planning on undergoing the procedure at a friend’s house.
However, after a couple of glasses of prosecco, she was swayed.
Rachael was at a Botox party with her pals; an event which offers cheap beauty treatments in the comfort of a house, surrounded by friends.
The 29-year-old, from Leicestershire, explained to The Sun’s Fabulous:
There was fizz and cake and it was a bit of a conveyor belt with girls sitting in the kitchen waiting their turn with local anaesthetic cream on their faces.
At the time, Rachael assumed the beautician was a nurse, qualified to give the procedures she was offering. However, she later found out the woman was a former prisoner with no medical training.
Rachael was wary of her lips after a fire door hit her in the face as a teenager, leaving her top lip with a permanent bump. The beautician noticed this as she gave Rachael her Botox, and offered to give her some lip filler.
The self-conscious woman conceded, and allowed the procedure to go ahead.
My friend had raved about this beautician and how great she was so I decided to go ahead.
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 with friends took away all the seriousness of having filler injected into my face.
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.
The 29-year-old was given some numbing cream before the procedure, and the beautician claimed she was using a filler called Teosyal, though it later transpired she’d used a different brand altogether.
Within hours of having the fillers, the young woman knew something had gone wrong.
Rachael appeared on ITV’s This Morning, where she explained:
It was fine. I went to bed. I woke up at 2.00 in the morning and saw what you see in those pictures.
My lips touched my nose. They quadrupled in size. The pressure and burning on my lips was unbelievable.
Rachael went to the hospital, but the nurses weren’t very reassuring as they actually started laughing at her.
They hadn’t seen anything like it before. I’ve turned up to A&E with this huge thing on my face.
I’m telling them I’m having an allergic reaction, which is what I thought was happening. Three doctors said I’d actually had the filler injected into my artery.
The 29-year-old was told she should go back to the beautician for treatment to dissolve the fillers. To add to the turmoil, Rachael’s top lip split after leaving A&E.
She called her mum, who advised her to contact the Consultant Clinic in London for help. The owner of the clinic told the fearful woman to go to London immediately, where an emergency doctor would be waiting.
Rachael told Fabulous:
She 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.
At the clinic a couple of days later, Rachael had several doses of dissolving agent injected into her lips, and thankfully within 72 hours of the emergency dissolving treatment, the swelling began to subside.
Following the traumatic ordeal, Rachael started pushing for regulations for the cosmetic surgery to be tightened, with the message ‘protect before you inject’.
I understand that people have self-esteem issues, but it's scary the amount of young people turning to surgery, lip-fillers & botox etc. Young people are under so much pressure to have the 'perfect' body.. whatever that may be ☹️ #ThisMorning #ITVplus1
— Cee Fos (@CeeFos) April 22, 2019
Reflecting on the experience, Rachael said:
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.
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.
The combination of the party atmosphere, my own naivety and the beautician’s lack of training meant I could have lost my lip.
I feel very grateful and humbled that I can use what happened to me to help others. It’s a big responsibility but one that I take very seriously and will not stop until regulation is tighter.
Rachael was joined on This Morning by Dr Tijon Esho, who said she was lucky not to lose her lip and advised only getting the procedure done by a doctor, nurse or dentist.
She was lucky it was identified as this and had the right agent to dissolve the filler. Many people have life-changing injuries because of this.
Those considering procedures such as fillers and Botox need to ensure they’re getting them done by a reputable and qualified person; Rachael’s story should certainly be a warning as to the dangers of what could happen otherwise.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.