Microanatomical Location of Hyaluronic Acid Gel Following Injection of the Upper Lip Vermillion Border: Comparison of Needle and Microcannula Injection Technique

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Abstract

Purpose:

To compare needle and microcannula injection techniques in regards to the microanatomical location of hyaluronic acid (HA) gel injected in the upper lip vermillion border of cadaver specimens.

Methods:

The upper lip vermillion border was injected transcutaneously with HA gel in 8 fresh hemifaces of 4 female human cadavers. Each hemiface was injected by a single experienced injector, the right side using a 27-gauge microcannula and the left side using a 30-gauge needle. A 2-cm region of each lip was excised lateral to a point 1-cm lateral to the philtrum. Specimens were fixed in 95% alcohol, embedded in paraffin, and stained with hematoxylin–eosin for histologic examination.

Results:

Most HA injected with either a needle or a microcannula was located within the orbicularis oris muscle, and the remaining HA resided within the subcutaneous fat. In 3/4 right (microcannula) hemifaces, 100% of the HA was located within the muscle. Only 2/4 left (needle) hemifaces had at least 95% of the HA located within the muscle. Overall, in right (microcannula) hemifaces, 93% of the filler was located within the muscle, and in left (needle) hemifaces, 79% of the filler was located within the muscle (p =0.14).

Conclusions:

Most HA filler injected into the vermillion border after either microcannula or needle injection resides within the orbicularis oris muscle rather than in a subcutaneous/submucosal location. Injection with a microcannula shows a trend for more uniform intramuscular location compared with needle injection.

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