Dermal fillers are a popular medical aesthetic treatment used to restore volume loss in the face that is secondary to the aging process. Dermal fillers are made of synthetic hyaluronic acid, which is also found naturally in the body. Hyaluronic acid adds fullness to the skin which reduces the appearance of looking “tired, angry, sad or saggy”. It can also help to add contour and definition to the face. If you are considering dermal fillers, it is critical that you choose an educated, well trained and experienced licensed Registered nurse or Physician to perform your treatment.
Historically, dermal fillers were injected using only needles. Over time, blunt tip cannulas have become a safe and popular addition to the traditional needle approach. Both needles and cannulas are still appropriate choices for injecting dermal fillers, and your provider should be educated and knowledgeable in terms of properly selecting which option to use for your treatment.
Cannulas contain a hollow bore that allows for the filler to pass through into the tissue. They differ from needles in the fact that the cannula tip is blunt, and rounded. Patients have less discomfort with the cannula approach, as your injector is able to reach more area with less entry points into the skin and can also re-enter the injection site without causing any additional pain. Cannulas also have more flexibility which allows your injector to maintain a specific and repeated plane in the skin without causing additional tissue trauma. The cannula approach also has a smaller chance of bruising and swelling post treatment.
Blunt tips are less likely to puncture an artery or a vein, which can cause complications. Cannulas actually tend to push arteries and veins aside while passing through the tissues which reduces your risk of vascular complications. Your practitioner is able to feel the difference in resistance with a cannula when passing through structures, which allows them to manipulate the cannula for the desired aesthetic effect with little discomfort.
Areas where blunt tip cannula can be most effective include the jaw line, nasolabial folds, cheeks, lips, marionette lines, and beneath the eyes.
In contrast to cannulas, needles have a sharp, thin and short beveled tip. When treating with a needle, multiple injection points are required. This can increase the chances of hitting a vein. However, using a needle allows more precision. While the needle approach for injecting dermal fillers has become less popular, it is still appropriate in certain circumstances such as when a very small amount of dermal filler is needed for touch ups, or when filler is injected into small areas like the cupids bow of the upper lip, as well as in the temples. It is also essential for your provider to use the needle approach when injecting product directly on top of the bone.
Ultimately, as a patient it is important to be aware that there are different injection approaches. As long as you have done your research and have chosen an educated, licensed and experienced injector, then leave the rest up to them and rest assured that they will be knowledgeable in both the cannula and needle approach for dermal fillers, and will choose the best option for you.