If you want to ease the signs of aging on your face, but don’t quite want a facelift or other surgical procedure, one option is to get an injectable filler.
When it comes to dermal fillers, there are a wide range of choices. Some fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, a substance produced by your body.
Others, such as Radiesse, are made from calcium hydroxylapatite, another naturally occuring substance, usually found in bone. Still others are made from synthetic substances, such as polylactic acid.
When choosing which filler is right for you, it’s important to understand the differences between each and what each is designed to do. Calcium hydroxylpatite fillers are often ideal for deeper wrinkles and folds and for restoring volume to certain areas of the face.
What Is Calcium Hydroxylapatite?
Compared to hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite is very heavy. The mineral is found in human bones and the consistency is similar to its host; it feels like ground-up bones. The injectable filler consists of spheres of calcium suspended in a gel.
One advantage of the ingredient is that it isn’t made from animal products and is produced in a lab. Since it is similar to a substance in the body, you don’t have to undergo allergy testing before use and don’t have to worry about your body rejecting it.
What It Does
Like hyaluronic acid fillers, you can see the results of a calcium hydroxylapatite injection immediately. Along with instantly adding volume, the ingredient works to stimulate the body’s production of collagen, which creates a longer-lasting effect.
The calcium particles in the gel work like a scaffold. Collagen is able to grow on the scaffold, leading to better volume. After some time, your body will absorb the calcium, leaving behind the collagen.
How Long It Lasts
Since calcium hydroxylapatite helps your body produce its own collagen, the results from one injection tend to last longer than the results from other types of fillers. You might see results from a treatment with Radiesse up to a year, or for as long as 1 1/2 years in some cases.
A 2007 study funded by the manufacturer of Radiesse found that patients preferred its results after a period of 12 months, compared to the results from fillers such as Juvederm or Perlane. According to the study, up to 95 percent of Radiesse patients were happy with the results at 12 months, compared to up to 10 percent of Juvederm patients.
Radiesse is often injected deeper into the skin than hyaluronic acid fillers, as it’s thicker and its goal is to stimulate collagen production. It’s often injected into the nasolabial folds, the cheek area and the jawline to add volume and smooth lines.
It can also be used in the midface area to restore lost volume and to bring back what’s called the triangle of youth, or pronounced cheekbone areas and less pronounced jowls.
Where It Shouldn’t Go
Although certain fillers can be used to fill in hollows in the under eye area or to add volume to the lips, calcium hydroxylapatit isn’t the right ingredient for those areas. Using Radiesse to volumize the undereye area can cause bumps to form.
The same is true if the injection is used to plump up the lips, as it can lead to the development of granulomas, or bumps in the lips. While in some cases granulomas can disappear with time, there’s a risk that they could be permanent.
Risks and Recovering
Injectable fillers, including calcium hydroxylapatite, don’t require much downtime. You can typically go back to your regular routine right after receiving the injection. Some people schedule the injections for their lunch break, then head back to work.
Since calcium hydroxylapatite requires a deeper injection than hyaluronic acid, it can be more painful. One way to reduce pain and discomfort during the injection is to use a form of Radiesse that also contains lidocaine. The lidocaine numbs the area. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t choose the option with lidocaine if you’ve had a reaction to it in the past.
Even with the lidocaine, you might feel some discomfort, or have bruising, redness or swelling in the area. Usually, these side effects fade within a few days.
Contact face specialist Dr. Jessica Kulak, at the Naderi Center in Virginia and Maryland. Dr. Kulak is able to answer any questions you have about calcium hydroxylapatite and similar fillers and can help you pick the filler that meets your needs. To schedule an appointment, call (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland today.