What is a microcannula?
A microcannula is a thin, flexible hollow tube with a smooth round tip on one end. The opposite end has a plastic hub, which is attached to a syringe. Unlike a needle that pierces the skin, a blunt-tip microcannula opens up a path between anatomic structures in tissue. It shears rather than cuts, similar to the way a flexible coffee stirrer can be placed between a gloved hand and the glove itself. This reduces discomfort, bleeding, bruising, trauma and swelling.
Do dermal fillers come with cannulas?
Dermal fillers typically come packaged with at least two needles per syringe. These needles have sharp beveled ends that easily pierce the skin and soft tissue structures to precisely deliver the filler to its target. The needles can be substituted for others of different length and sizes. Cannulas are purchased separately, are more flexible and can be used instead of the supplied needles.
Since microcannulas are not sharp, how do they get into the skin?
Microcannulas have smooth, blunt tips. A small entry point must be made with a sterile hypodermic needle slightly wider than the cannula.
Where is the port on a microcannula versus a needle?
On a microcannula, the port is located near the tip, but on the side. With a needle, the port is at the tip on a sharp bevel.
Does Dr. Lum use needles or microcannulas?
He uses both. The choice may depend on how and where a dermal filler is to be placed. Dr. Lum uses both. There are advantages and disadvantages to either. In areas that are more vascular, microcannulas can reduce tissue trauma, pain and bruising, especially around the eyes, the middle of the lip, midface and jowl regions. When injecting tear troughs, or the back of hands, Dr. Lum prefers to use a microcannula that pushes small vessels out of the way rather than cut them. DermaSculpt, TSK Steriglide, and Softfil are popular brands of microcannulas that Dr. Lum typically uses.
Since needles are more rigid and sharp, they can be inserted easily and placed just about anywhere with precision, especially if there are preexisting scars or adhesions. For superficial creases in the skin or areas where precise intradermal injections are needed, the use of a cannula would be suboptimum. When boluses of material are deposited on top of bone or supra-periosteum, needles are usually used.