Radiesse is unique among the dermal filler products because it is made of a compound called calcium hydroxylapatite. The calcium hydroxylapatite in a Radiesse injection is in the form of microspheres that are carried in a gel. The body reacts to the injection of Radiesse by sending a particular kind of skin cell to the area called fibroblasts. The patient gradually forms new collagen, which replaces the gel carrier. It is this new collagen formation that leads to the relatively long-lasting results that Radiesse users enjoy.
Radiesse is approved by the FDA to correct facial folds and wrinkles. It is best suited to treat deep facial folds like nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Nasolabial folds are the deep furrows that some people have from the lower border of the nose, down the cheek, to the lip. Marionette lines are similar, but extend below the mouth and give the appearance of a frown. While Radiesse injection is often used to treat these deep wrinkles, it can be used on most facial lines and wrinkles.
While Radiesse is discussed along with dermal fillers it is not precisely a dermal filler. That is because Radiesse is actually injected more deeply than other dermal fillers. A Radiesse injection is made at the border between the dermis and the subcutaneous layer. Because of this deep injection, it has been used to provide fullness to gaunt, atrophic cheeks. Atrophy, most commonly thought of in terms of muscle atrophy, is a process in which the tissue wastes away and “shrinks.” Radiesse can be used to correct skin and facial atrophy.
An early problem with Radiesse injection was the pain associated with treatment. Recently Radiesse has been safely combined with a local anesthetic, like lidocaine. By some reports, the mixture of Radiesse with a local anesthetic has cut the pain of the injection in half (using a Visual Analog Scale or VAS). Unfortunately, lidocaine takes one to two minutes to numb the skin so each Radiesse injection may be mild to moderately painful initially.
Radiesse is comprised of two materials, the calcium hydroxylapatite, and the gel carrier. Neither of these substances causes an allergic reaction therefore allergy testing is not required. Some other dermal fillers often do require sensitivity or allergy testing prior to use.
Radiesse side effects are related mostly to the skill and care taken by the medical professional administering the treatment. For example, if Radiesse is injected into the dermis, it can form nodules in the skin. This is not aesthetically pleasing and cannot be easily corrected. Also, the provider should avoid treating the lips with Radiesse. Radiesse injection of the lips can lead to cyst formation.
One common question that patients have is “how much does Radiesse cost?” Radiesse treatment is comparable in cost to other dermal fillers, if not slightly higher. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the average Radiesse cost for surgeon’s fees is $856. This may or may not include the cost of materials. This figure will also vary depending on your region of the country. Considering that only one Radiesse treatment is required and results last up to a year or more, Radiesse cost may be comparable to other injected products.