What Is Radiesse?

by Greta Chapin-McGill ; Updated September 28, 2017

Dermal fillers are substances injected below the skin to correct wrinkles and volume loss, and add mass to lips and cheeks. Unlike surgery, which stretches the skin tight to correct wrinkles, dermal fillers plump up the soft tissue to fill in wrinkles and add volume. The result is often a natural, fresh appearance. Dermal fillers must be injected by a doctor. One of the most popular dermal fillers preferred by dermatologists and plastic surgeons is Radiesse.

Calcium Hydroxyapatite

In 2006 the FDA approved the use of Calcium Hydroxyapatite for cosmetic injection. This substance is made from minerals that give your bones strength and texture. The minerals are formulated by grinding them into microscopic particles; these particles are then suspended in a water-based gel solution. Radiesse is a dermal filler made from Calcium Hydroxyapatite.


Radiesse generally works safely in intimate contact with human tissue, is non-toxic, and often does not cause averse immune system reaction. You don't have to worry about Radiesse traveling to other parts of your body and it won't show up in an X-ray examination. The safety of Radiesse has been determined to FDA standards in extensive clinical trials by the manufacturer, BioForm Medical.

How Radiesse Works

Radiesse works by stimulating your body to grow more collagen, effectively rebuilding collagen structure lost by the aging process. When injected it immediately adds volume to the face, giving it a more youthful appearance by reducing the look of smile lines, wrinkles and depressions around the mouth and nose.


During the procedure, your skin will first be cleansed and numbed with a topical anesthetic. Then Radiesse is injected with thin ultra-fine needles. The procedure will generally take around 30 minutes.

After Treatment

You will be able to resume many normal activities right after your Radiesse injections. Avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Do not do extreme exercise for at least 24 hours. Apply ice to your face after treatment for comfort.

Side Effects

If your face starts to feel lumpy after two to three days, alert your doctor. Injection site side effects like swelling, itching, bruising and tenderness may develop. If they persist for more than a few days let your doctor know. The risk of allergic reaction to Radiesse is extremely small, because it is biocompatible.

New Developments

The FDA granted approval for the manufacturer of Radiesse to add Lidocaine, a local anesthetic. The addition of this pain-relieving substance will significantly reduce your discomfort at treatment. Radiesse lasts longer then most dermal fillers and can be combined with laser treatments and BotoxCosmetic for total skin rejuvenation. Look for a doctor experienced with injecting Radiesse.

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About the Author

Greta Chapin-McGill has been a writer and beauty professional for more than 15 years. Her articles have appeared in "Nails Magazine" and "les Nouvelles Esthetiques." Chapin-McGill attended Howard University and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., studying painting and art history. She is now a features writer for SantaFe.com.