Dr. Erin Walker on Radiesse®

Erin Walker MD FAAD Charleston DermatologistErin Walker, MD, FAAD, Board-Certified Dermatologist discusses Radiesse® wrinkle filler

My 10-year experience with Radiesse

Radiesse is one of the many dermal fillers on the market today to address facial lines and wrinkles and volume loss. It’s been FDA approved since 2006 and consists of calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) micro particles suspended in a water-based gel.

I’ve used Radiesse with great success over the last 11 years to address the changes that we experience with volume loss due to aging (collagen loss), weight loss (fat loss) or illness. As a product, it can be used to successfully plump the skin and replace volume loss especially on the cheeks, jawline, and nasal labial folds. Radiesse is somewhat thicker than many of the dermal fillers on the market in the US and is not indicated in delicate areas like around the mouth or under the eyes and is also best avoided in patients with very thin skin.

As a robust filler, it has been shown to last for up to 18 months (many fillers average 9 months to 1 year) and has also been granted FDA approval for rejuvenation of the back of the hands. Overtime, the gel is reabsorbed and the body breaks down the CaHA particles and you’re then left with your own natural collagen, although there may be some long-term benefits as this product can stimulate your own collagen production. (article continues following photos.)

Over the last 10 or so years that I’ve used Radiesse, my patients have experienced the satisfaction of replacing volume in areas of loss that help to recreate a more natural and youthful appearance. Used alone, Radiesse can achieve outstanding results but I’ve also found that one of the benefits of Radiesse is that it can be used in combination with lighter hyaluronic acid fillers and will act as a deeper foundation to build upon with other products. Although the face is the most common treatment area, the hands also can be treated to reduce the aging effects of creepy/thin skin and noticeable blood vessels.

Of course, as with all the dermal fillers, Radiesse is not perfect. There’s some discomfort with the treatment, which is injected via a small needle or cannula. Radiesse will get reabsorbed over time and so you will need retreatment. The side effects include swelling; bruising and the possibility of small bump formation. The product should not be used if pregnant or breast-feeding or if the patient has a lidocaine allergy.

Prior to any treatment we offer a consultation to discuss our patient’s goals and expectations. I want our patients to be comfortable about the process and understand amount of volume that needs to be replaced to achieve the expected improvement. This product is available by the syringe and the average patient may need anywhere from 1-4 syringes. We typically have patients use ice and topical anesthetic beforehand to help to minimize pain and bleeding. Most patients are usually back to their normal routine within 12-24 hours. I strongly urge patients to avoid aspirin, Vitamin E and fish oil supplements for 5-7 days prior to any procedure to help to minimize bruising.

For a novice in this area of dermal fillers this may all sound very daunting, but often a ½ hour procedure will take the years away and improve the pesky changes you may have noticed. The world of dermal fillers is expanding every day, but Radiesse will always be one of my personal favorites due to its versatility and longevity when used properly.


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