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Radiesse Injections – Benefits, Cost & Side Effects

middle aged woman looking at her smile lines in mirror

Reviewed by Scott R. Miller, MD, FACS

Radiesse (formerly Radiance) is a biocompatible, non-toxic, non-allergenic filler that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and skin folds around the mouth and nose, and fills certain scars.

Popular for its long-lasting results, Radiesse benefits should be evident for two years or more.

Is Radiesse Right for You?

Radiesse candidates are typically between 35 and 60. Radiesse usually provides up to 80 percent improvement immediately after treatment. Since Radiesse is temporary, treatments must be repeated over the years to maintain the benefit. Alternative treatments or surgical procedures may be more appropriate in years to come, as your condition changes. Discuss expectations with your doctor before treatment.

The Radiesse Procedure

The Radiesse procedure is performed in the doctor’s office. It is most often performed with local anesthesia. Patients may experience minimal discomfort from the needle injection. Depending upon the extent of treatment, the procedure can take up to 15 minutes. Patients return home within minutes after the procedure.

The procedure involves injecting a compound of calcium hydroxyl apatite microspheres that are suspended in a carboxymethylcellulose gel. Calcium and phosphate ions, naturally occurring in our bodies, primarily make up the calcium hydroxyl apatite particles. The gel contains an organic compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, as well as glycerin and sterile water. Thin connective tissue forms around the microspheres so that the microspheres act as a filler that remains permanently implanted at the site location.

  • Step One: The doctor may select one or more injection points for each location to be treated. Antiseptic is also applied.
  • Step Two: The doctor will identify the correct amount of Radiesse for the procedure.
  • Step Three: The Radiesse filler is then injected beneath the skin, under the dermis and subcutis layer.

Results are fully evident within one week. Radiesse can last two years or more, but touchups may be necessary throughout this time period.

Recovery after Radiesse Treatment

There may be minimal swelling, which usually subsides in 24 to 36 hours. There may also be some discomfort and bruising. The discomfort can be managed with medications. Normal activities can be resumed immediately; however, patients are advised to stay out of the sun.

Complications and Risks of Radiesse

A rare complication might be the appearance of nodules which would require steroid treatment or surgical intervention. Unmanageable pain or any symptoms that are progressive or abnormal should be reported to the doctor immediately. Your doctor can tell you more about possible complications and the remedies associated with each complication.

Alternative and Additional Treatments

There may be alternative treatment options, depending on your condition. Other minimally invasive procedures include collagen injections, Restylane and Fat Fillers. For severe signs of aging, surgical procedures may be more appropriate, such as a facelift. Your doctor may recommend additional treatments in conjunction with Radiesse, such as chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing or microdermabrasion.

Consult a Qualified Doctor

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons may have extensive knowledge and experience with anti-aging treatments. However, some may not have expertise with this specific procedure — the injection, the proper dosage — and some may not offer a medical setting with the highest level of quality care. Finding a doctor with specific Radiesse injection experience is important for safety and for achieving optimal results. Consulting a qualified doctor will also help ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Here are some tips to consider when consulting a doctor:

  • Review the doctor’s credentials, education, training, type of certification held, and the number of times that the treatment has been performed by the doctor.
  • Ask the doctor how much Radiesse will be required to achieve a satisfactory result for your condition. Patients usually require only one treatment.
  • View before-and-after photos of patients with similar conditions who received Radiesse and alternative treatments such as Restylane.
  • Inquire about complication risks and possible side effects, including the impact of smoking and medications on your treatment.
  • Request a list of pre- and postoperative instructions. Following these instructions can reduce the risk of complications.

The Cost of Radiesse

The extent of the procedure may involve one or several areas of the face, and the appropriate dosage for each area may vary, making it difficult to provide a meaningful cost estimate until you are examined by a doctor.

The cost for Radiesse typically ranges from $650 to $800 per syringe.

If the cost of Radiesse is more than you can pay all at once, ask your doctor about payment plans and medical finance options.