Dermal fillers are a growing part of plastic surgery and facial enhancement.  A quick office procedure is a great way to reduce the deep wrinkles you have around your mouth (the nasolabial folds), the deep lines in your lower mouth (marionette lines), and the wrinkles between your eyebrows (worry lines, or glabella lines).  Increasingly, they are also used to reduce the hollow areas of your eyes, the loss of volume in your cheeks, and even get a non surgical nose job (rhinoplasty).

When your injector opens the dermal filler boxes, inside are some free needles included from the manufacturer.  When dermal fillers were originally released, I often used the needles inside the box, just like everyone else.   There’s nothing wrong with these needles.  They’re high quality, sterile, and there’s even an extra one.

That said, I not only have stopped using the complimentary needles, but I fully disrespect any injector who still does. 

Why the call-out?  Why my love affair with special needles, known as “cannulae”?

Experience has taught us that traditional needles have drawbacks with dermal filler injections.   They only have one escape hatch, the hole at the end of the needle.  To inject the same amount of filler as a single cannula injection, ye olde freebie needles require multiple injections in a deeper wrinkle, resulting in slightly more pain for my patients and an increased risk of bruising.  The cannulae are slightly flexible, and can be manipulated to place filler exactly where it is needed.

In short:  the cannulae just work better.

Soft dermal cannulae have been around for several years.  Cannulae is plural for cannula, and it’s a fancy term for a tube.  It sounds so pedestrian to use the word “tube”, that plastic surgeons have to use a fancier term.  This way, no one understands what we’re talking about.

Soft dermal cannulae are longer too; really long!  That’s actually good for you, because it means fewer injections.

The cannulae have a blunt tip, NOT a sharp tip, so there is less pain with each injection.

The final result?  Less pain, increased efficiency during your dermal filler session, and more consistent placement of your dermal filler in your wrinkle.

“But Dr. Kim, why isn’t MY injector using soft cannulae?”

I don’t know why!  These devices are inexpensive, and have really helped my patients get better looking results with less pain and more efficiency.  But there are some possible reasons as to why your injector isn’t using them:

  • Injector doesn’t take updated classes or CME credits to learn about the latest advances in plastic surgery.
  • Injector took a weekend course a couple of years ago, and has failed to keep up with the latest plastic surgery advances.
  • Injector is too cheap to give you the best, least painful, and most aesthetic result possible.  These cannulae are typically less than $10 each, which is pretty negligible compared to the $400-$1000 single syringe of dermal filler it’s delivering into your face, but hey, maybe he’s/ she’s saving up for a Starbucks run later in the day.

Truly, I don’t know why you’re not getting an injection method with little to no downside, but I do know how you can change that:  schedule your next appointment with me!
If you’d like more information on dermal fillers, please contact me at 415 362 1846 or  I have offices in San Francisco and Santa Clara.  I look forward to meeting you in person.


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