Off-label Use of Radiesse Shows Tremendous Potential for Rhinoplasty Alternative
Like most facial injectables, Radiesse is intended to smooth out wrinkles and add subtle volume to areas in need. Originally designed to treat nasolabial folds (those lines that run from the nose to the corner of the mouth), Radiesse is slowly gaining some recognition as a Botox-like all-encompassing cosmetic wonder. While at the moment that might sound a bit exaggerated, it’s likely only a matter of time before more and more medical problems, aesthetic or otherwise, begin to use Radiesse as a viable solution.
Radiesse is crafted from a solution primarily composed of "Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA) microspheres”. These spheres instantly add volume to the skin, which in turn increases smoothness and lessens the noticeability of wrinkles, folds, and lines. A secondary effect of the presence of CaHA is the improved production of healthy collagen within the skin. Eventually, the CaHA spheres are absorbed and eliminated by the body, leaving your own natural collagen to take their place. Essentially, the microspheres within Radiesse create a type of temporary wrinkle-reducing scaffolding for your body to fill in with naturally occurring ingredients.
As you can probably guess, Radiesse works particularly well in regions on the facial skin that have moderate to severe wrinkles due to volume loss. This includes nasolabial folds, crow’s feet, brow lines, and facial furrows. The volume increase can also be taken advantage of in order to intentionally lift sagging or drooping areas around the cheeks or chin.
Radiesse has also been officially approved as a means for treating volume loss in the back of the hands. As we age and the collagen production in our hands starts to dwindle, the increased bony-ness and frailty of these extremities becomes difficult to ignore. Radiesse has been shown to effectively replace the loss of mass in the back of patients’ hands, helping to alleviate cosmetic problems as well as issues with overall functionality.
So as you can see, Radiesse is gaining traction as a simple and powerful means for adding volume throughout the body. While the effects are not permanent, they have been clinically proven to last for up to a year within the face. And the volume adjustments from Radiesse could potentially last even longer in other areas.
The ridge of the nose is one of these areas gaining recent attention. Traditional rhinoplasty (nose surgery) is a surgical procedure that requires nipping, tucking, maneuvering, and the oft-dreaded general anesthesia. It is a huge commitment and not exactly cheap either. Many patients undergo rhinoplasty in order to ‘correct’ a bump or divot on the ridge of their nose. And while it might seem counterintuitive to use a volume increase in order to fix a bumpy ridge, Radiesse has demonstrated itself as a viable solution for just this.
By adding volume to either side of a bump, Radiesse effectively evens out the nasal ridge, vastly improving the nose’s overall appearance. It has the secondary benefit of increasing collagen production in that area while smoothing wrinkles in the nearby tissue. Without having to ‘go under the knife’, patients can see immediate enhancements for a fraction of the price of traditional rhinoplasty.
Other commonly injected areas that are not officially approved include the temples, the neck, and the lips. As we touched on above, Radiesse works almost identically in practically any area of the body as long as it is injected with precision and care. For the temples, Radiesse has been shown to improve overall facial symmetry by adding volume to depressed areas in the region sometimes referred to as the ‘lateral brow’. Similarly, the neck or jawline can be redefined by this injectable volumizer. And obviously, what works with the rest of the body should theoretically work on the lips. Right?
Actually, the lips are known as a bit of a problem area for Radiesse. While some aestheticians will swear by its benefits, others strictly warn against this lip contouring approach. The primary opposition to the Radiesse-lip solution revolves around its unfortunate unpredictability in that part of the facial tissue. It is not impossible to achieve the desired aesthetic goals through injecting Radiesse in the lips. However, the amount of control that the aesthetician has during such procedures is reportedly limited.
Still, as with most off-label drug uses, there will always be some who would bet their lives on it and others who would scoff at the thought. With Radiesse, the effects are temporary and the health risks are low, so the ultimate choice can usually be responsibly left up to the patient. An unfortunate outcome from a Radiesse treatment would not be the end of the world, and the general subtlety of the procedure’s results attests to that sentiment.
Truth be told, the original incarnation of Radiesse involved the treatment of HIV patients. Victims of HIV often experience severe volume loss in their facial tissue. Radiesse was initially approved as a treatment specifically for this problem. Eventually, cosmetic practitioners caught on to the potentiality of Radiesse for non-HIV patients and the evolution began to unfold.
Radiesse differs from other dermal fillers due to its ‘characteristically high G-prime”, which is a measure of elasticity and makes this drug much better suited for soft tissue lifting and contouring. Unfortunately, this also makes Radiesse a somewhat volatile injectable when utilized in non-official areas, such as the temples, nasal bridge, lips, or neck region. Without a carefully controlled injection, Radiesse can lead to undesirable nodules within these areas. Still, for the most part, Radiesse is a quick, easy, and practically painless alternative to surgery.
So is Radiesse the new wonder-drug of the cosmetic industry? Probably not to the extent of Botox. Although, as with Botox, only time can truly tell what is in store for this versatile dermal filler. Rhinoplasty replacement today... Potential lifesaver tomorrow? We’ll see...