Cannula vs Needle

Branded dermal filler products like Secret Rose, Juvéderm, and Restylane include both a needle and a cannula. As a newly qualified aesthetician, or a student training in dermal fillers you might be wondering which method works best?

Traditionally, dermal filler treatments were performed using hypodermic needles. Recently though, aesthetic practitioners are taking advantage of the cannula’s length and flexibility to deliver great results for their clients.

The main difference between the needle and the cannula is the tip. The tip of the needle is sharp, whereas the tip of the cannula is blunt. Both have different uses and risks, but together they give aestheticians the tools they need to create designer dermal filler looks.

Using a needle for aesthetic treatments

A needle is the perfect tool for treatments that rely on control and accuracy. The small, sharp tip allows the injection of small amounts of filler into specific areas of the face. For example, when treating the shallow lines around the mouth (sometimes known as smoker’s lines) the aesthetician needs tiny amounts of filler. Due to the placement and the amount of filler required this is a treatment that needs a needle, and there are many others like it.

Needles are great for contouring treatments and fine adjustments in targeted areas. They can inject filler deeper into facial tissue by penetrating the layers of the skin. This makes them ideal for treatments where the filler needs to build up gradually.

There are downsides to using a needle too, including bruising and swelling. Even when the treatment is performed by an experienced practitioner with the right aftercare advice, there is a chance that the needle will pierce the blood vessels under the skin. This leads to bruising in the affected area.

There are also risks of vascular occlusion when using a needle to inject filler. A vascular occlusion happens when filler is injected into the blood vessel, and it can cause harmful complications. From blockages to blood flow restriction and skin necrosis, vascular occlusions are a serious potential side effect of filler application using a needle.

Using a cannula for dermal filler treatments

One of the most attractive features of using the cannula method is a low risk of vascular occlusions. The blunt tip pushes past blood vessels instead of piercing them, to reduce the chance of filler entering the vessels or arteries.

Because the cannula doesn’t pierce the blood vessels, it also reduces the amount of bruising and swelling a client can expect after a treatment – another bonus of using this method.

Due to the longer length and flexibility of the cannula, it’s the right tool for treating large areas like the jaw. It enables smooth, continuous delivery of filler to reduce the risk of bumps, lumps, and unevenness.

Using a cannula also means less needle piercings are needed. Using significantly less injection sites, the cannula can cover the same treatment area – making it a good option for patients who don’t like needles!

Freedom in choice

When it comes down to it, the needle vs cannula argument is all about choice. It depends on the type of treatment, the aesthetician’s preference, and how well the client tolerates needles. Fillers like Secret Rose and Juvederm come with needles and cannulas, so the aesthetician has the freedom to use either one.

At Cosmetic Couture we treat our clients using both needle and cannula techniques. We also teach our students how to inject filler using both methods, so they have greater flexibility when treating their own clients.