Quick Facts

About

  • Radiesse is a dermal filler that also stimulates natural collagen production in the skin.

Injection sites

  • Radiesse is FDA-approved for smile lines, temples, cheeks, chin, and hand injections.

Side effects

  • Side effects include pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Most side effects resolve on their own.

Results

  • Effects can last up to 30 months; typically closer to 12-18 months only.
  • Effects fade gradually over time.

Cost

  • One vial of Radiesse costs $700-1,000.
  • A typical treatment session costs around $1,500.

What Is Radiesse?

Radiesse is a cosmetic dermal filler that can correct skin wrinkling by replacing lost volume and smoothing out folds. The active ingredient in Radiesse is calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA), a biocompatible compound that stimulates the production of your body’s natural collagen.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Radiesse for the treatment of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds in 2006.

In 2015, Radiesse received an additional approval for the correction of volume loss in the back of the hands.

How Does Radiesse Work?

Radiesse’s mechanism of action is somewhat unique: it has both the direct volumizing effect of traditional fillers, plus the ability to stimulate collagen production by the body.

The newly generated collagen adds to the filling action for months after the treatment, making Radiesse one of the longest lasting fillers.

Radiesse owes these unique properties to its composition, which is 30% CaHA microspheres suspended in 70% water-based gel carrier by volume.

When Radiesse is injected, the thick gel immediately adds volume to the treatment area. Over the next few weeks, the CaHA microspheres begin to stimulate fibroblasts (cells in the skin) to manufacture new collagen. The CaHA microspheres function as scaffolding as the collagen is deposited around them.

Over time, both the gel and the CaHA are absorbed and metabolized by the body, leaving behind the newly made collagen.

Treatment Areas

Radiesse can be used in the following body areas:

  • Nasolabial folds (smile lines) to add volume and hide wrinkles. Smile lines are the lines that run from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth.
  • Marionette lines to add volume and hide wrinkles. Marionette lines are vertical lines extending from the corners of the mouth downwards
  • Chin to add volume
  • Jawline to add definition
  • Temples to lift depressed areas
  • Cheeks to smooth wrinkles and add volume
  • Back of hands to minimize the appearance of tendons and veins

It’s worth noting that Radiesse is not used on areas where the skin is thin, like the lips and the area under the eyes, as it can cause a lumpy appearance. Radiesse is sometimes confused with Restylane, another dermal filler which can be used on the lips.

Are You a Good Candidate for Radiesse?

An ideal candidate for Radiesse is a healthy adult between the ages of 30 and 60 who has moderate to severe wrinkles or depressed skin areas. You should have no history of severe allergic reactions or bleeding disorders.

People with darker skin can experience more side effects, in particular difficulty performing certain tasks due to pain, after receiving Radiesse hand injections.

Procedure

Radiesse treatment is a simple outpatient procedure typically performed at a doctor’s office. Patients can return home immediately afterward. The procedure, including preparation time, usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour.

The number of injections you’ll receive depends on the degree of correction you require and the condition of your skin. Saggier skin generally requires more Radiesse to achieve similar results.

After disinfecting the area, your doctor will inject Radiesse in the deep layers of the skin at the target areas.

Radiesse is mixed with lidocaine, a local anesthetic, to decrease the discomfort from the injection. You may also receive some topical numbing cream before the injection to further limit potential discomfort.

Recovery

There is no downtime after Radiesse treatment. You may experience some redness, swelling, or bruising. This usually goes away after a few days but can last up to two weeks.

Following these simple precautions can help with the recovery and ensure optimal results:

  • Avoid exercise for 24-48 hours.
  • Avoid direct sunlight for 24-48 hours.
  • Avoid touching or massaging the injection area for six hours.
  • You may use ice-packs to help with the swelling.
  • You may use over-the-counter Tylenol if you continue to experience discomfort.

Results

Radiesse works in two phases: immediate and delayed. After you receive the treatment, you should see the effects of the added volume right away. The swelling may hide the results, but as it subsides, you will be able to see the improvement.

New collagen production begins as early as four weeks post-treatment. You should continue to see gradual improvements for up to six months.

Before and Afters

Face

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Hands

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How Long Do Results Last?

Improvements with Radiesse have been shown to last for over one year. In one clinical study on the treatment of nasolabial folds, 82% of participants reported improvement six months after the treatment.

Another long-term follow-up study found that 40% of the treated nasolabial folds maintained some improvement 30 months after the last treatment. Predictably, the degree of improvement at that time was smaller than what was reported in the initial study, indicating that the results fade over time.

Another clinical trial evaluating Radiesse for augmentation of the back of the hand documented positive results, with 76% of patients reporting satisfaction with their results six months after treatment. Real-world experience suggests results may last a year or longer.

Radiesse does not produce permanent effects. As the gel and the CaHA microspheres are absorbed by the body, the results will begin to fade away. If you wish to maintain the improvement, you may benefit from repeat treatments.

>> Read more about how long fillers last and the comparison between different brands

Radiesse Side Effects

Like all medical procedures, there is a risk of side effects or complications with Radiesse. Fortunately, these problems are most commonly mild and require no further treatment.

Facial injections side effects

The above-mentioned nasolabial fold clinical study reported the following side effects:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Nodules

Up to 74% of patients experienced some redness, swelling, or bruising. All side effects resolved on their own, the majority within two weeks.

The post-marketing follow-up study evaluated these patients for possible long-term complications over a period of three years and found none.

>> Learn more on how to reduce bruising after receiving filler injections

Hand injections side effects

Similar side effects were reported in the hand clinical trials. However, a higher proportion of people experienced side effects than those who received nasolabial injections, with up to 92% reporting pain and virtually all patients experiencing some swelling.

Almost half the subjects also had some difficulty performing activities due to hand discomfort and 6% experienced hand lumps or nodules. Despite the higher numbers, the majority of side effects resolved spontaneously within two to three weeks.

Other, rare side effects

  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Necrosis (tissue death)
  • Nerve damage

Frequently Asked Questions About Radiesse

Can Radiesse migrate?

Migration is unlikely to occur with Radiesse.

Can Radiesse be dissolved?

Radiesse has no reversal agent. As time passes, Radiesse will be spontaneously absorbed by the body and disappear.

Can Radiesse be used on lips?

No. Radiesse can result in lumpiness if used on the lips or the area under the eyes.

Is a skin test needed before Radiesse?

No. The material in Radiesse is biocompatible and does not cause allergic reactions.

Will I need multiple treatment sessions?

Multiple sessions are not necessary. If the results begin to fade away after some time, you can get repeat treatment to restore the results.

How Much Does Radiesse Cost?

The main factor in the cost of treatment depends on how many syringes of Radiesse you need.

Radiesse is available in two syringe sizes: 0.8 cc and 1.5 cc. A 1.5 cc syringe should run you somewhere between $700 and $1,000. Many doctor offices offer discounts on the second syringe and up, so you only pay full price for the first syringe.

For face injections, most people will need one to two 1.5 cc syringes to treat severe wrinkles and folds. The smaller 0.8 cc size is reserved for relatively mild wrinkles. A typical treatment session costs approximately $1,500.

For hand injections, at least 1.5 cc per hand is used. People with highly visible veins and tendons or severe fat loss in the hands may need two 1.5 cc syringes or more per hand.

Radiesse vs. Juvederm Voluma

Radiesse is often compared to other dermal fillers like Voluma, which is a more traditional filler. Each of them has pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision.

 RadiesseVoluma
EffectDirectly adds volume + stimulates collagen productionDirectly adds volume only
Main ingredientCalcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA)Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Reversible?NoYes
Final results appear...Months after treatmentImmediately
Results last...Typically 12-18 months; may last up to 30 monthsUp to 24 months
Cost$700-1,000 per syringeUp to 24 months

For more info on Voluma, check out Zwivel’s in-depth guide: Juvederm Voluma: Treatment Areas, Cost, Results, and Side Effects.

Takeaway

Radiesse is a unique dermal filler that stimulates the body to make natural collagen, producing long-lasting results that are unattainable with other fillers. It’s an effective way to correct wrinkles and furrows in smile lines, temples, cheeks, chin, and hands.

Find a Radiesse Provider near You

If you think Radiesse might be right for you, a consultation with an experienced provider will answer any questions you may have and help you reach a decision.

Use our cosmetic doctor search tool to find a Radiesse provider near you.

References

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About The Author

Articles by

Ed Hassan is a newly minted doctor and a contributing health writer for Zwivel.

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