As the demand for non-invasive cosmetic procedures continues to increase, many doctors and med spas are turning to microcannulas as their preferred method of product delivery.
Improved maneuverability, less recovery downtime, and fewer side effects are just a few of the many reasons why microcannulas are growing in popularity.
A consensus review conducted by H. Sundaram, S. Weinkle, J. Pozner, et al. found that:
“The panel finds blunt-tipped microcannulas to be a significant advance in nonsurgical rejuvenation and a valuable addition to the options available for injection of soft tissue fillers.”
However, not all microcannulas are created equal, as there can be significant differences between different types of microcannulas.
If you’re considering switching over from a standard needle, how exactly do you choose the right aesthetic cannula for your practice?
Read on to learn more about five tips for selecting the right microcannula, what they’re suitable for, and how they can add value to your practice.
What is a Microcannula?
A micro-cannula is a very thin, flexible, hollow tube with a blunt rounded tip. It’s an improved version of the traditional hypodermic needle used to administer injection treatments.
The sharp tip of a needle can cause subcision of the sub-dermis and injure the vessels as it pierces through the tissues.
Microcannulas don’t have this problem as their blunt tip and flexibility allow for a more gentle path between the skin’s anatomic structures while reducing the associated risk of using the needle.
Why Switch Over to Microcannulas?
Microcannulas provide doctors and med spas with several advantages, such as:
- Reducing patient pain and discomfort
- More precise and accurate filler placement control
- Blunt dome-shaped tip may reduce vascular occlusion incidence because it is less likely to penetrate the vital vessels like a sharp needle can
- Decreases the risk of bleeding and bruising for the above same reasons
Certain microcannula options, such as STERiGLIDE, have a larger ultra-wide internal diameter that significantly reduces the extrusion force required to push the viscous filler through the tube. This is beneficial to both the patient and the injector because less pressure is needed to do the job.
5 Tips for Choosing a Microcannula
There are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing the best microcannula for your practice:
- Look at the flexibility of the shaft. It needs to be flexible enough to move effortlessly around sensitive structures but have enough rigidity for precise placement of the product. You should note that longer microcannulas (such as those 1 ½” in length or greater) tend to be more flexible, while shorter microcannulas are more rigid. A microcannula with a 30 or 27 gauge will tend to be more flexible than one with a gauge of 22. The Dispoderm flexible cannula and TSK STERiGLIDE microcannula are both options that provide the ideal balance between stiffness and flexibility.
- Examine the bluntness of the rounded tip. Unlike a needle that pierces through tissue, a microcannula opens up a clean path between the anatomic structures of the skin. This limits inner tissue damage and reduces pain and bruising. A blunter microcannula has a lower probability of piercing vessels and is therefore safer.
- Notice the distance of the extrusion port or pore from the tip (closer is more precise). Below is an excerpt of a table showing some popular microcannulas and their tip-to-port distances.
- Know the appropriate size for the specific procedure performed, and match the soft tissue requirements and location. Microcannulas come in various sizes/lengths, and suitable sizes can differ from their sharp needle counterparts. In general, a microcannula of 27 gauge or larger diameter is often used in place of a 30 gauge sharp needle, and a microcannula of 25 gauge or larger diameter is typically chosen in place of a 27 gauge sharp needle.Aestheticians use differing techniques for various procedures, but some general size recommendations are:For low concentration and viscosity hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers and superficial injections:— 30G x 1” (25mm) - Tear trough, fine lines - precise workFor fillers of medium concentration and viscosity HA fillers:— 27G x 1” (25mm) - Precise work— 27G x 1 ½” (38mm) - Most versatile size, used for most facial indications— 27G x 2” (50mm) - Extra length to cover larger treatment area
For medium to thick HA and non HA fillers, median to deep injections:— 25G x 1 ½” (38mm) - Can be used for most facial indications— 25G x 2” (50mm) - Extra length to cover larger treatment areaFor viscous and highly concentrated fillers, injections deep into the skin to create volume:— 23G x 1 ⅛” (29mm) - Precision for thick fillers— 22G x 2” (50mm) Most versatile size for thick fillers— 22G x 2 ¾” (70mm) - Great choice for procedures on the handsFor facial fat graft (not recommended for fillers):— 16G x 4” (100mm)— 18G x 2 ¾” (70mm)
- Research the brand name and overall performance of the microcannula. Top brand names are popular for a reason—they offer proven performance and value.
Ease of ordering is an additional important factor in choosing the right microcannula. For example, Air-Tite Products has a team of experts to provide assistance and take orders directly over the phone (with no automated messages or wait queues), while also offering the option for online ordering. Air-Tite sells their cannulas in packs of 20 per box (plus 20 pilot/starter needles)—whereas other manufacturers only offer boxes of 4’s and 10’s. Bulk purchasing allows you to save more money in the long run.
Which Microcannula Option Works Best for Your Practice?
Microcannulas offer a wide range of benefits over a standard needle. Less recovery downtime, improved maneuverability, and fewer unwanted side effects will result in happier patients and increased revenue.