Posted by Dr. Anil R. Shah

So, you’ve decided to get filler and you might be asking what should I use: a cannula or a needle? 

Let’s first find out the difference between a cannula and a needle.

What’s The Difference Between A Needle and A Cannula?

A needle is sharp and can go through any tissue.  This means if a blood vessel is in its way, it may get punctured and lead to a bruise.  A cannula is blunt and therefore has a more difficult time penetrating a blood vessel.  Because a cannula is so blunt, it needs a needle for its initial penetration into the skin.

So Which Is Better? 

Quick answer: It depends.

When cannulas first came out, doctors were excited because the release allowed for the possibility to avoid penetrating blood vessels, prevent bruising, and other potential complications.  Like many innovations, once doctors began using cannulas, they quickly learned that they did NOT eliminate complications but were great in some situations and not so great in others. 

So, How Do You Decide?

The easiest answer would be to say to go to an experienced injector. Medical spas tend to have nurse injectors taught by other nurses with little guidance. Guidance by a facial plastic surgeon, plastic surgeon, or dermatologist can ensure that the injectors have an understanding of the anatomy of the face and the locations of the blood vessels.  Surgeons (especially Facial Plastic Surgeons) have an additional advantage in that their knowledge of blood vessel and nerve locations might be more detailed and relevant due to their previous work in faces. For example, Dr. Shah is a facial plastic surgeon in Chicago, IL who has authored 3 pertinent articles on facial anatomy and has written specific chapters on botox and filler anatomy.  He personally trains every injector to understand the anatomy and technique on a higher level.

Where Does Dr. Shah and His Team Like To Use Cannulas vs. Needles?

Dr. Shah and his team actually customize the treatment plan for your individual anatomy. The team interchangeably use specialized cannulas (various sizes) with various needle sizes to help create an artistic, real life, airbrushing (in this case adding filler) effect to your face.  Dr. Shah prefers the smallest, thinnest needles available with many of his cannulas and needles specifically ordered for our clinic in Chicago, IL.

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