Let’s say you’re thinking of getting dermal fillers because you’ve been getting smile lines or you just want plumper lips. You do your research and find out that while dermal fillers (also known as the lunchtime facial) can be quick and cost-effective, they can also cause swelling and bruising for up to two weeks. That’s not ideal for you; the whole point of getting injectable fillers is so that the work looks invisible. Why bother if everyone who lays eyes on you can tell that you’ve interfered with nature?
What if we told you that you can kiss those worries goodbye?
Traditionally, dermal fillers are injected with half-inch long needles. These needles are the recommended way of injecting the filler but there are some undesirable side effects to this approach. When using a needle, its sharp tip penetrates the skin and passes through any veins or arteries in its path to get to the depth that the filler in injected. At best, this damage to facial tissue and veins causes bruising and swelling; at worst, it could result in accidental injection of filler into an artery or vein, known as intravascular injection.
When this happens, it could lead to a blocked blood vessel which could affect blood flow. The first of two ways that a blood vessel can become blocked is if an artery is pierced by a needle and filler is injected into the artery, thus preventing blood from flowing through this artery to areas dependent on this blood supply. The second way a blocked blood vessel can occur is if the artery is compressed from outside by filler. This could happen in areas of compartmentalisation, such as the nose tip. If the external pressure on the artery exceeds the pressure within the artery, blood flow will stop. Luckily, for most areas of the face, external compression isn’t a major concern as blood can reroute to other arteries.
We at Advanced Cosmetic Medicine employ the new method of injecting dermal fillers using a cannula because it is much safer and causes less damage to facial tissue. The blunt tip of the cannula is less likely to pass through your veins or arteries, avoiding intravascular injection which results in considerably less swelling and bruising compared to a needle. Instead, the blunt tip pushes the veins aside as the cannula enters your skin through a pre-made entry point created by a needle. Furthermore, because the practitioner can feel resistance from structures that a cannula passes through, they can judge when and how to apply pressure or alter the direction of the cannula. And finally, because a cannula is usually longer than a needle, it can reach more areas of the face without having to make as many entry points into the skin.
To summarise, there are many advantages for both you and the practitioner using a blunt-tipped cannula, including:
- The blunt tip of a cannula is less likely to pierce through a vein or artery, resulting in less swelling, bruising and risk of intravascular injection of filler.
- The practitioner has a more sensitive feel for the structures passed by the tip of the cannula.
- A cannula is longer, allowing for fewer injections and entry points through the skin.
- A cannula can go in through the same point of entry multiple times without causing pain.