Should I Try a Different Filler to Correct Poor Radiesse Results?

A Radiesse injection left an indentation in one cheek. The attempt at correction made it worse.

Should I hope it will go back to normal in time or try to have to another filler placed in indenation?

Doctor Answers 11

Radiesse complications

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Radiesse is an injectable form of calcium hydroxylapatite and tends to be thicker than hyaluronic acid-based fillers. Radiesse generally lasts aound 9 months, but traces of the product can remain for longer than one year.

Rarely, granulomas can form after Radiesse injections. These are areas of inflammation that can present as a red, tender lump. Small amounts of steroids injected locally can help in the resolution of granulomas. Massage may also be of benefit.

A depression caused by scar tissue after inflammation such as a granuloma may be treated with subcision with a needle or a wire scalpel. Further injections with another class of filler may also disguise a visibile irregularity.

In most cases, these complications are self-resolving and many patients are happier after receiving reassurance.

New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Restylane to correct Radiesse

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As Radiesse is injected more frequently by inexperienced physicians, I am seeing more and more complications. Radiesse is not very "user friendly" and unlike Restylane, Perlane, and Juvederm, it cannot be dissolved.

The most common problem is over-injection, causing lumps. Sometimes, this can be reversed with aggressive massage, especially if done in the first 2 weeks.

Other times, the Radiesse was injected in the wrong place (like lateral to the nasolabial fold). For those, I softened the drop off by injecting Restylane in a feathering pattern around the area to blend.

Finally, the big problem is incorrect injection into the lips, causing hard pea-sized papules. Sometimes they must be cut out using a stab opening to pop it out.

In the end, Radiesse complications go away 100%. It can just take up to one year, so see an experienced injector next time.

Be careful no to do too much

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Any filler can occasionally result in bumps or slight skin irregularities. It is most often a result of where the filler is placed ( too high in the skin) or how much is used (overcorrection). Generally speaking, these slight imperfections can be alleviated with massage, extraction or using a needle and cortisone injections to break up hard bumps. These all must be done by experienced hands so as not to worsen the problem.

Sometimes, indentations can be caused by small scars in the skin that are not obvious at the time of injection. These cn be from old wounds that have healed, past surgeries or acne scars. This situation causes the filler substance to pool around the scar creating an indentation in the center. This situation can be corrected using subcision, a technique that breaks up underlying scrs through a single needle stick. Once the scar is removed, a little extra filler smoothes out the dent.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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Correction of Radiesse Injections

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Radiesse is actually a great product when injected properly.  That is why it is so important to make sure that you are being injected by an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.  If you want to make any corrections to previous injections, another good product is Juvederm which can be injected more superficial and is great to filling divots.  

Radiesse correctional options

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Radiesse is an excellent and versatile filler in the hands of experienced aesthetic physicians. Radiesse is made of calcium hydroxyapatite, think of it as biocompatible synthetic ground up bony material. However, if one is unhappy with Radiesse results, your option may be limited . Other than tincture of time, you may want to seek a second opinion to use hyaluronic acid based fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, or Perlane where the correctional filler injection can be reversed completely if the clinical outcome fails to meet your expectation.

Possible reasons for indentation

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There are multiple explanations as to why you had a depression after Radiesse. There may have been too much filler in one area or not enough filler in that area. There could have been a scar tissue that the doctor was not aware about. Even an injection too close to the skin could have caused the indentation. Some possible treatments you can try is massaging the area, first and foremost. A steroid injection or a subcision to fill the scar tissue is an option. But see your dermatologist for more answers.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Using a different filler to correct a Radiesse deformity

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Radiesse is an excellent dermal filler with good longevity and can produce excellent results. Like all fillers however, it is possible to have an uneven result if the Radiesse is used incorrectly or placed into superficial a plane. Plastic surgeon or dermatologist to discuss your concerns. They may recommend injection of around the deformity to help camouflage it. It is possible that Radiesse may be injected or other fillers such as hyaluronic acids such as Juvederm. It is also important keep in mind that the results of Radiesse will eventually subside. Consider this when making your final choice.

Hard to tell

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It is hard to tell why you have a depression after injection. This is something needs to be examined. This can be due to overfill around the area or underfill in the area that appears indented. It can also be scar tissue....hard to tell. If it is just from underfill, then more filler could help.

Radiesse is not like the other fillers

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Dear Julie,

Trying to understand what went wrong is difficult by email. The things that can cause your problem include;

  1. Too much filler in one area (overcorrection).
  2. A scar in the skin that does not allow skin to expand when a filler is injected, thereby creating the appearance of a depression.
  3. Injection of radiesse too close to the skin. Not all fillers are the same, if Radiesse is injected as close to the skin as the other fillers (Restylane and Juvederm) it will create more lumps and bumps.
  4. Radiesse injected around the mouth has an increase risk for cyst formation. The cyst can create the apppearnce of deprssions around it.


For #1 - try to correct the areas around the original filler, but if this creates too much or a mountain of filler, consider massage or steroid injections.

For #2 - consider subcision and filling of the scar. Subcision is a technique to break up the scar and then fill the depression. This technique is also good for acne scars.

For #3 - The only thing to do is massage.

For #4 - Massage or steroid injection should help.

Good luck,

Robert M. Freund, MD, FACS

Figure out what went wrong prior to adding a different dermal filler

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You might consider what left you with a less than aesthetic appearance or a complication prior to considering the addition of another dermal filler. Many of the problems encountered can be corrected through either massaging, extraction, or some addition of the same filler, etc.

  • Many areas of ovecorrection, undercorrection, or surface irregularities can be improved (not always resolved) through either massaging, extraction (if recently injected) or the additional of small amounts of filler. Sometimes an undercorrection can be experienced if the physician injected your particular deep subdermal or, more likely, in the subcutaneous plane. Remember that all patients will swell immediately after injection, and may exhibit residual swelling for days after the initial injection. Thus, hold off on any sharp criticism and decision planning until you're confident that the majority of the swelling has resolved.
  • Even in the most skilled hands, sometimes patients exhibit a better result with one dermal filler than another, etc. It is my suggestion that you stay with that same product that's previously worked.
  • Keep things simple. Choosing a larger particle-based filler for deeper lines (Sculptra, Artefill, Radiesse) can be complemented with a small particle for more superficial lines (Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane), etc. In addition, we know Botox and fillers are complimentary as well. But I believe using multiple products during the same injection period can complicate what should be a straightforward process.

However, it is my suggestion that trying to find out why a less than optimal aesthetic appearance resulted is more important than simply adding in one more product into the mix.

Jeffrey D. Hoefflin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.