Radiesse is a dermal filler that is used to add volume to the face and to correct facial wrinkles and folds. It is made of calcium based microspheres in a water based gel. The ingredient is similar to minerals naturally found in the body so allergy testing is not necessary. Upon injection, it immediately plumps up the skin, resulting in a smoother, more youthful appearance. Over time, Radiesse stimulates the body’s own collagen. The product is absorbed in 6-12 months; it is not permanent. However there is residual, long lasting benefit due to the enhanced collagen.
Radiesse is FDA approved for injection into the smile lines, corners of the mouth, the marionette lines (lines running down from the corners of the mouth) and for rejuvenation of bony hands. It is widely used (off label) for volume enhancing of the cheeks or mid face. Radiesse is not recommended for injection in the lips or under the eyes due to the thick consistency. For lips and under the eyes, hyaluronic acid fillers with smaller particles or lower density such as Restylane Silk are a better option.
How is treatment with Radiesse performed?
Prior to treatment, some patients elected to have a topical numbing agent applied to the skin for 20 or 30 minutes. This step is optional since Radiesse is mixed with lidocaine, a local anesthetic, which acts to numb the skin after the first injection. Immediately before treatment the face is prepped with an antibacterial surgical scrub. Radiesse is injected carefully in the requested areas with gentle massage of the treated area after injection. Patients are then given an ice pack to minimize the potential for bruising. The treatment takes 15-20 minutes. After treatment, patients can immediately apply sunscreen, moisturizer or makeup. With the use of topical anesthetic as well as the local anesthetic that comes mixed into the Radiesse, most patients do not complain of pain with Radiesse injections.
We recommend that patients apply ice at home every hour for 5 minutes on the first day. Massage of the treated area for a few minutes twice daily for 2-3 days is also recommended. Some patients elect to take Aarnica Montana, an herbal anti-bruising vitamin for 3-4 days. It may help those who are prone to bruising. Makeup can be applied right after treatment. There is no significant recovery time. If bruising occurs, it may take 7-14 days to resolve. We suggest doing treatment 2-4 weeks in advance of important events.
What are common Radiesse side effects?
The most common side effects are bruising, redness, swelling, pain and soreness. These side effects resolve in a short time. Radiesse can be seen on Xray or CT scan. If you are having one of these tests in an area treated with Radiesse, notify the radiology technician. All dermal fillers, including Radiesse, can rarely cause a localized skin infection or bumps under the skin. Advise your physician if you have a history of multiple allergies or if you have a skin infection. Infection or bumps related to Radiesse injection can be treated by experienced physician providers and will resolve in time. Radiesse injection is a medical procedure best performed in a physician’s office rather than a medi-spa.
What does Radiesse cost?
The cost of Radiesse treatment depends on the size of the vial and how many vials are used. The 1.5 cc vial, which is the standard size costs $750-$900. The .8cc “touch up” vial costs about $400. While the cost is similar to Voluma (a popular cheek enhancement filler option from the makers of Botox), there is 33% more product in the vial, making Radiesse a better deal.
Radiesse Deals/ Radiesse Groupons
While Groupon can be a great way to try a new exercise studio or restaurant, using Groupon for medical procedures is fraught with risk. This procedure should be performed in a dermatology or plastic surgery office. If a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant performs the procedure, the physician should be on hand or available should a problem occur during or after treatment. As discussed above, there are adverse effects with Radiesse and other dermal fillers. Experienced providers know how to handle any problems that may occur.
If you see a Groupon offered by a medical practice, ask yourself why they are offering an expensive medical treatment at a steep discount. What is the experience or reputation of the medi-spa or medical office? Are they offering this treatment, or any other, at a steep discount so they can get more patients in the door and then sell the new patients aggressively on other procedures?
Radiesse Reviews: What are patients saying about this treatment
A summary on Real Self, an online cosmetic procedure forum, showed 79% of patients of patients, out of 223 recent reviews (past 24 months) thought their procedure was “worth it”.
In my experience, Radiesse works well for patients ages 40-65 with deep folds and/or volume loss. The benefits are less for patients over 65, especially if they have significant volume loss, severe jowls or extreme sun damage.
It is impossible to read a review and determine if the treatment is right for you.
Radiesse vs. Other Dermal Fillers
Most facial fillers are made of hyaluronic acid as compared with Radiesse, which is made of calcium hydroxyapatite. Both are safe ingredients that occur naturally in the body. Juvederm Voluma and Radiesse are both thicker in consistency and are used as volume enhancing fillers. Juvederm, Restylane, Restylane Silk and Belotero are hyaluronic acid fillers that are thinner in consistency than Radiesse and last a shorter time: 6 months vs 9-12 months. The less dense hyaluronic acid fillers can be used to treat fine lines, hollows under the eyes, and for lip enhancement. Radiesse is not recommended for fine lines, under eye treatment or lip augmentation.
The advantage of hyaluronic acid fillers is the ability to dissolve bumps, should they occur, with an injectable medication, hyaluronidase. Fortunately, bumps after treatment with Radiesse are very rare and, since the treatment is temporary, always resolve. In my experience, bumps with Voluma or Perlane, the thicker form of Restylane, are more likely than with Radiesse. With treatment, and tincture of time, bumps with either filler typically resolve.
Radiesse is my treatment of choice for patients with deep folds or volume loss that are seeking immediate improvement. The results are long lasting, 9-12 months, with individual variation depending on the patient’s age and area treated.