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Pineiro, Mildred Lopez; Green, Jeremy B.; Kaufman, Joely; Blackwelder, Patricia L.; Freytag, David L.; Frank, Konstantin; Alfertshofer, Michael and Cotofana, Sebastian (2021): Deformation of Needle Tips During Facial Soft Tissue Filler Injections: An Electron-Microscopic Study. In: Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Vol. 41, No. 12: NP2011-NP2019

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Background: Injectable soft tissue fillers are used on a global scale for a variety of aesthetic indications. Despite their widespread use, there is a dearth of information regarding needle deformation following injection procedures. Repeated injections with the same needle could lead to progressive needle tip deformation, potentially resulting in decreased precision and increased patient discomfort. Objectives: The objective of this study was to quantify the magnitude of needle tip deformation utilizing scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image analysis. Methods: An observational study was performed evaluating 4 differently sized needles following soft tissue filler injections for 5 different aesthetic indications (zygomatic arch, infraorbital, midcheek, nasolabial sulcus, and perioral) in patients aged 36 to 64 years. Following treatment, each needle was visualized and imaged through SEM, and the percentage of deformation in relation to the total amount of needle tip surface was calculated. Results: The factor most influencing needle tip damage was revealed to be the number of injection passes, ie, dermal transitions. Per injection procedure, an increase in needle tip damage of 4.7% occurred. Touching the bone deformed the needle tip by 9.6% and an increase in needle size resulted in 0.13% more damage. Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first SEM investigation to provide objective evidence for the deformation of needle tips after repeated facial soft tissue filler injections. These data may help improve patient safety and comfort during these minimally invasive procedures.

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