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Nitroglycerin: A Review of Its Use in the Treatment of Vascular Occlusion After Soft Tissue Augmentation


  • The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ellen Marmur, MD, 5 East 98th Street, Box 1048, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY 10029, or e-mail:



Skin necrosis after soft tissue augmentation with dermal fillers is a rare but potentially severe complication. Nitroglycerin paste may be an important treatment option for dermal and epidermal ischemia in cosmetic surgery.


To summarize the knowledge about nitroglycerin paste in cosmetic surgery and to understand its current use in the treatment of vascular compromise after soft tissue augmentation. To review the mechanism of action of nitroglycerin, examine its utility in the dermal vasculature in the setting of dermal filler-induced ischemia, and describe the facial anatomy danger zones in order to avoid vascular injury.


A literature review was conducted to examine the mechanism of action of nitroglycerin, and a treatment algorithm was proposed from clinical observations to define strategies for impending facial necrosis after filler injection.

Results and Conclusions

Our experience with nitroglycerin paste and our review of the medical literature supports the use of nitroglycerin paste on the skin to help improve flow in the dermal vasculature because of its vasodilatory effect on small-caliber arterioles.