Cannula Injections – Teaching a Basic and Invaluable Skill

Should a new-in-training medical aesthetics practitioner be educated on how to properly use a cannula as a basic injection technique? Absolutely.

The use of a blunt-tip cannula in many medical aesthetics procedures is safer, more efficient and increasingly preferred by cosmetic patients.

Traditionally, cannula techniques have been considered an advanced skill, something practitioners picked up after acquiring and employing the skills to do needle injections. It’s true that using a cannula is different, perhaps a little more difficult, than using a needle. But with everything we know about the many positive benefits of cannulas, this has to be considered a necessary training skill at the beginning stage for everyone wanting to be a professional aesthetics practitioner.

It makes basic sense to make cannula techniques part of our basic training.

The primary safety advantage in using a cannula is evident in its actual construction. It has a blunt tip and enters into the skin through a ‘poke’ or entry made with a needle. Through the opening and into the treatment area, the cannula presents minimal risk to blood vessels, pushing them aside rather that perforating the vessels as a sharp tip needle might. Besides the bruising and swelling that perforations cause, this also creates a greater risk of necrosis or tissue death if a product is injected into a vessel.

When nurses and doctors come to THMA Consulting they will be trained in injection techniques with a needle and a cannula in both Course 2 and Course 3 of our New Practitioner training and mentoring program.

Oriol Rhodes RN trains participants in both courses: “As medical professionals we focus on performing our treatments with the least harm possible. That’s the core reason why everyone who is learning to do aesthetics procedures should be trained and comfortable with a cannula. Practitioners will want to use it every day in their medical aesthetic practices.”

Cannulas are ideally suited for treatments in mid-face areas where structures, such as the tear troughs, make it more difficult to work with a needle. Cannulas are also efficiently used in cheek augmentations, along the jawline and chin area, lips, temples and nasolabial folds.  Research and studies have consistently support this effectiveness and safety.

“Cannulas should be highly considered in any deep tissue compartment. While both needles and cannulas are useful in practice and achieve excellent cosmetic results, cannula use in the deeper compartments among practitioners is encouraged to minimize complications.”   – Dermatology News, Jan. 2017

During a patient consultation for dermal fillers, the risks and benefits of a needle and a cannula are discussed. When a patient needs ‘lifting’ of the tissues, a needle is the best choice but when discussing contouring over potential ‘danger zones’ a cannula is the only choice.  When recommending the cannula because of safety and other considerations, most patients prefer that method of treatment.

That’s not a surprise, really. The advantages for patients include:

  • Fewer ‘pokes’ than with a needle
  • Considerably less bruising and discomfort
  • Decreased social downtime for swelling to settle
  • Condensed treatment time
  • Reduced risk of vascular complications

For professional practitioners, a cannula allows for a more effective method of distributing dermal fillers in the treatment area, giving the injector more feel about what structures are being passed by the tip of the cannula.

Along with basic training on cannulas in our New Practitioner courses, THMA Consulting also offers a Supplementary Course in hands-on cannula training to medical professionals already in an aesthetics practice who want to expand their skills and meet the growing patient demand for dermal filler injections with a cannula.