Radiesse (formerly known as Radiance) represents one of the most exciting advances in the world of dermal fillers. It only reached the market within the last ten years but in that time it has already grown dramatically in popularity.
It is a hydroxylapatite-based filler that is used to minimize the appearance of deep wrinkles and creases and restore fullness in areas where natural fat stores have been depleted. It was originally developed for use in HIV patients, for whom loss of facial fat is a serious issue, but it was soon discovered that it could be applied cosmetically as well with positive results.
How is Radiesse applied and are there side effects?
Treatment consists of an injection into the subdermal, or lower level, of the skin in any area that needs improvement. Areas that are most commonly treated with Radiesse include the nasolabial folds, marionette lines and crow’s feet.
Because injection of hydroxylapatite into the lips can cause cysts to form, it is not recommended for this use.
Since this particular type of filler is injected more deeply than other types, such as hyaluronic-acid based fillers, there can be some pain during the injection process. Your doctor can introduce a small amount of lidocaine to the syringe prior to injection to help ease this discomfort. The manufacturers of Radiesse are also working on a formula that contains lidocaine for this purpose.
Unlike common hyaluronic acid fillers, there are few side effects when using Radiesse. There may be some localized swelling at the injection site, but this generally clears up within a day or two. On rare occasions, a bump may form under the skin at the injection site. This usually only happens if the wrong type of filler is used or the wrong dose is administered or if the doctor administering the injection is not well trained. Should this occur, it may require an invasive procedure to remove or correct the bump.
How does it differ from other injectible dermal fillers?
While no filler is perfect, hydroxylapatite fillers have a few distinct advantages over the competition. Hydroxylapatite is a substance that is found in the teeth and bones and can help to stimulate the body’s own production of collagen, the substance that provides fullness in the skin. This is what gives it its ability to fill in wrinkles and creases and create a fuller look. Like hyaluronic acid, it is naturally absorbed by the body over a period of time.
The difference between the two is that hydroxylapatite takes far longer to absorb, therefore the results of treatment will last much longer than those achieved with any other fillers. With Radiesse, the effects can last as long as 12-18 months, compared to the 8-12 months of most hyaluronic acid fillers. This means that you’ll require fewer follow-up treatments to maintain your look. And since it stimulates the body’s production of collagen that means there is less volume needed to achieve the same amount of improvement that you can get from other fillers.
While Radiesse may cost a bit more at $650 to $800 per syringe (a typical treatment uses one or two syringes), since less of the filler is needed in each injection and the results last longer, the overall cost may actually be less than that of other fillers. Like any filler, treatment with Radiesse is considered cosmetic and is generally not covered under most health insurance plans.