When a physician uses a blunt-tipped cannula to administer a soft-tissue filler like Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, Perlane or other, they are using a blunt-ended, usually flexible, straw-shaped tool to move around the area. This tool allows the injector to lay little threads of the filler product smoothly and evenly. The key point here is that blunt-tipped micro cannulas are not sharp. When the filler is administered with one, the tissue is not pierced through or poked like it would with a ‘regular’ needle. The physician or nurse will be sliding the cannula in through a tiny pin-point opening that they create (in an inconspicuous place like the corners of the mouth). Then they'll thread/glide the cannula through the tissue, smoothly filling the area with the product. Additionally, they do not have to pierce through the surface skin multiple times like they would with a needle. This means less possibility of bruising for you!
It’s also less painful, and you'll typically end up with much less swelling. Here’s a great study from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, if you'd like to check that out. They did a 2 week comparison of post-injection 'downtime' of needles and micro-cannulas. They conclude that cannulas are the way to go!
l personally would describe the feeling as “weirdzies” versus “OUCH!!”. You can certainly feel something moving around, which is why I describe it more as a strange sensation, and not really a pain sensation. I've personally tried the Dermasculpt Cannula, which seems to be a great product. Dermasculpt cannulas have pretty much become the standard for soft-tissue filler treatment at Cadella Medical Spa and Wellness Center here in Chicago, so it's the brand I'm most familiar with.
Even though blunt-tipped cannulas are a fantastic way to have a soft-tissue filler injected, not all docs use them. They can be much more expensive than regular needles, and training is needed (there is a learning curve, as I understand). It's also important to know that even if they utilize cannulas for injections in their practice, sometimes an injector will choose to use a traditional needle. It can depend on the product being used, because some fillers are thicker or thinner than others. It also depends on and what the injector wants to do with it, and where they'd like to put it, so it won't be appropriate all the time. Chat it out with your injector to see if you're a good candidate for blunt tipped micro cannulas at your next treatment.
Check out my other post on Dermasculpt and uplift filler technique here, and until next time: stay fabulous my friends!