Radiesse vs Restylane…the Fact, Fiction and Fluff on Fillers

Published on March 18, 2010 by

A recent article published in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery indicated that in a direct comparison study of Radiesse vs Restylane, patients preferred Radiesse by a margin of 2 to 1. The study also shows that Radiesse required 30% less volume than Restylane for the same amount of correction. Both products were shown to be safe, effective treatments with similar adverse side effects. According to the study, Radiesse lasts longer, takes less to achieve the same results, and provided higher patient satisfaction.

In our practice we use both Restylane and Radiesse and after reading the study results, I began to wonder “Why?” I’ve been here long enough to know that when an article like this hits the media, our patients who are extremely knowledgeable will start calling wanting to know why we would use Restylane at all if Radiesse is so much better. The fact is, I wanted to know too, so I prevailed on our fillers/injectables professional, Lisa Bowers, RN, to educate all of us on these particular fillers and help to separate the fact, fiction and whatever fluff there might be in this discussion.

My first question to Lisa was “Which filler do YOU like, and why?”

“As an injector, I see application for both Radiesse and Restylane (Hyaluronic Acid-HA filler) in our practice.” Both fillers can be used in some of the same areas, ie: the nasolabial folds (those ‘smile’ lines that develop on the sides of the mouth angling up to the nose) as well as most of the lined areas around the mouth. The exception would be the “rhytids”, the lines, especially in smokers, that develop vertically above the top lip which are best treated with Restylane to fill the lips in combination with Botox to stop the muscle action that tends to cause those stern looking lines that seemingly serve no purpose other than to move lipstick from our lips up toward our nostrils. Radiesse however, would be preferred to enhance flat cheeks or to build up the areas around the eyes. Lisa explained, “A comprehensive consultation with the patient is what finally determines which product is used. The factors include not only the areas to be treated, but also their age and related skin condition. There simply is no one answer that’s right for every patient that walks through our door.”

The products seem to have few differences so far, but the study indicates that Radiesse lasts significantly longer than Restylane. Is that something we’re seeing in our practice? According to Lisa, our practice is proving that to be the case. “Radiesse is lasting about 12 months which is substantially longer than our Restylane patients are experiencing. We still use both products because different sites are better suited to one product over the other. I see us continuing to offer both for quite some time.”

Now that we’re starting to see that both products are useful tools in the lifelong trial to stay vibrant, I want to know more. For instance, at what age should patients begin considering fillers? “Fillers are not the first step in a comprehensive skin care program. Skin care should start much earlier. Our practice philosophy is that we cultivate life long relationships with our patients. What’s appropriate at 70, is not appropriate at 25, but patients at both ends of the age spectrum should be concerned about their skin’s health and appearance.” Lisa should know. After many years being Dr. Byrd’s operating room nurse, she became his practice nurse at his adult cosmetic office a few years ago. Usually it’s sometime during the 30s when we all begin to notice perhaps a few gray hairs, and maybe a line that is looking more and more like a wrinkle. Maybe the skin begins to look a little less vibrant on some days. This is when it’s time to begin medical grade skin care and begin a search to find a physician/surgeon whom you can trust. This time is when the risks are lowest for the patient. The wrong cleanser will do a lot less damage than choosing the wrong surgeon for a facelift.

Developing a long-term, comprehensive skin care routine during your 30s and 40s will stand you in good stead for the long term. It’s at this time when fillers begin to become options for some patients. By the time we’re in our 50s, the aging process can begin to show in earnest. For patients with a solid history of skin care, fillers may stave off the need for surgery a bit longer. Of course, heredity plays a role in this as well and that has to be taken into consideration. Without a foundation of good skin and health care, you may find yourself fighting a tougher battle than was necessary. Fillers can be a supplement to that skin care and in the right hands can counteract some of the toll aging, gravity and aggravation have on our skin.

So what are the facts regarding the Radiesse vs Restylane controversy? Much of what the article says is true, and we’re seeing some of that in our own practice, but that’s not as devastating to Restylane fans as it might sound. Yes, it is true that Radiesse lasts longer and requires less volume in some cases. What is also true is that Restylane can be used in circumstances where Radiesse isn’t appropriate. We’ll continue to use both fillers as part of a long-term comprehensive approach to skin care. Radiesse, Restylane, Botox, Bellafill, Sculptra along with medical grade skin care products and surgical solutions are all a part of the package our practice offers our life-long patients. Our care doesn’t begin or end with surgery. Surgery is an important part of what we do, and in some cases it’s what brought a patient through our door initially, but it’s what happens after that which is most important to us. Cultivating a trusting, caring relationship is our goal with each patient. We will continue to evaluate new products as they become available and make thoughtful decisions on which ones are best for our patients. Separating the fact, fiction and fluff is part of what we do to protect and educate our patients and ourselves.

This is from a guest blogger, my adult/cosmetic Practice Manager, Marta Traugott. I hope to have other guest bloggers who will discuss topics important to them, and if you have a question you want answered or a topic you want information about, please feel free to contact my office through this website.

Contact Us

    Please email me news and special offers
    I agree to the Terms of Use


    Dr. Steve Byrd

    Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

    To visit our office use address:
    9101 N Central Expy #560
    Dallas, TX 75231

    For mailing purposes use address:
    9101 N Central Expy #600
    Dallas, TX 75231
    Tel (214) 821-9662
    Fax (214) 828-2609

    The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic SurgeryAmerican Society of Plastic Surgeons