8 Common Cannula Mistakes New Injectors Make

Following our guide to learning to use a cannula, here are eight common cannula mistakes new injectors make. 

Again, we asked our director of education, facial aesthetics specialist, Dr Kalpna Pindolia for her expert advice. 

“Using cannula techniques improves safety for patients by reducing the risk of occlusion,” she tells us. “However, do bear in mind that the risk is not completely eliminated.”

“There is more to the use of cannulas than safety alone,” she notes. “Cannulas are a beautiful way to deliver soft tissue fillers. I enjoy using them as they are a great instrument for producing natural looking, rejuvenating outcomes. Used properly, they allow you to add an artistry to your facial aesthetics approach.”

Below she identifies eight of the most common errors that can hamper new injectors trying to achieve such results. Additionally, she advises on how to avoid them, or what to do if you find yourself in these situations…

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1. Being shy about introducing the entry point

“A quick, assertive puncture for the entry point is much more comfortable than a longer slower attempt.”

2. Using an entry point needle that is smaller than the cannula

“Doing this means you cannot get past the skin due to cannulas having a blunt tip. Therefore, check your entry point needle is producing a hole bigger than your cannula.”

3. Too long a cannula

“If your cannula is too long, you may lose control of the tip in terms of area and depth. For example, 38mm vs 50mm lengths. Longer cannulas can be and are used, just bear in mind that you’ll have less precise control with the longer ones.”

4. Using a cannula that is to small

“Consider that cannulas that are too small become a needle. Your cannula should be 25G or wider if you’re using it rather than a needle for safety reasons.”

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5. When starting out, don’t use cannulas in technically difficult areas

“Start with areas such as the nasolabial folds, so you can build confidence in your technique. These are easier to get to grips with than trickier areas such as the lips.”

6. Panicking when encountering resistance

“Feeling scared when encountering resistance is normal until you get used to how much to push. Resistance is just feedback. A gentle twist of the cannula with a small push will get past fat septae and the SMAS, if required. On the flipside, excessive pushing is not required.”

7. Not keeping a wide ‘sterile’ field

“It’s easy to cause infection if you inadvertently inoculate your cannula tip with skin organisms. So clinically cleanse the skin, then clinically cleanse it again… and do it once more before you treat. Avoid touching the needle tip on the surface of the skin as much as possible.”

8. Worrying if the entry port bleeds

“Don’t worry if the entry port bleeds. Just apply pressure for 5 mins and re-site the port. It’s worth warning the patient that they may be left with a bruise here.”

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Improving your cannula technique through training

If you’re a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife looking to improve your cannula technique, we have a couple of options open to you. 

Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Filler

Cannula use is taught as part of our industry-leading Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers. This is a highly-respected Master’s level qualification and our course is both Ofqual regulated and mapped to the Health Education England guidelines.

The Level 7 offers healthcare professionals a chance to immerse themselves in every aspect of aesthetic medicine. From in-depth eLearning, which is self-paced for your learning convenience and observed treatment demonstrations, to hands-on mentored injecting. 

Using a cannula is just one of the skills we teach – and you then get to practice – on your own, individual (never shared) patients.

As a Harley Academy Level 7 trainee, you’ll gain invaluable experience of working in a real clinical environment under the guidance of our expert mentors. As such, you’ll be able to treat a variety of patients and presentations, allowing you to build your confidence in a supportive space. 

One-to-one injectables mentoring sessions

If you’re an aesthetics practitioner of at least an intermediate skill level and the Level 7 is not for you, we offer targeted one-to-one mentoring sessions. In order to improve your cannula technique, we recommend opting for our 1:1 Training in Mid-Face and Cannula.

This provides expert mentoring at our clinic, through every stage of treating your own patient. From consultation through production selection and treatment, to providing all necessary aftercare advice. This holistic approach to learning, one-on-one with a dedicated mentor, allows you to really focus on honing your skills. 

These sessions are also useful as regular refreshers for any solo injectors who may not benefit from regular in-house training.
To find which is the best aesthetics training course for you, contact our courses advisor, Christine Slater, who’ll guide you through your options.