BACKGROUND Vascular compromise and subsequent tissue necrosis is a rare but disfiguring complication of dermal filler injection that frequently occurs in regions of the lip and nasolabial fold supplied by the superior labial artery (SLA). OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to examine lumen diameter and other anatomical features of the SLA relevant to dermal filler injection in the clinical setting. MATERIALS AND METHODS Eighteen adult cadavers were dissected. Detailed measurements of the SLA were taken at predetermined points along its course. RESULTS Lumen diameter of the SLA was largest at the labial commissure (0.85 ± 0.34 mm; Point P1) and smallest at the midline (0.56 ± 0.21 mm; Point P4). The deepest mean cutaneous depth of the SLA was at its branch point from the facial artery (5.49 ± 1.95 mm; SLA branch point), whereas the most superficial mean cutaneous depth was at the midpoint between the labial commissure and peak of Cupid's bow (4.29 ± 1.54 mm; Point P2). CONCLUSION The variable, superficial course of the SLA and its large caliber place it at significant risk for intra-arterial injection with dermal filler at all points along its course.
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