Should Aesthetics Practitioners Aspirate?

“Should aesthetics practitioners aspirate?” – it’s a controversial question and one there is no right answer to.

This debate seems to firmly split healthcare professionals down the middle with very distinct ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps.

Dr Tristan Mehta is renowned for his pioneering approach to safety standards within aesthetics. He is the founder of Harley Academy and the creator of the Ofqual regulated Level 7 in injectables – the gold standard in postgraduate aesthetics courses in the UK.

We asked him for his opinion on whether aesthetics practitioners should aspirate and he had quite a novel take! 

Watch Dr Tristan explain his views on aspirating in the following video, or scroll down to read what he has to say…

Dr Tristan Mehta explains why he doesn’t aspirate but believes you need to be taught this technique

“I’m of the camp of not aspirating, but I think as we train and teach beginners, we need to be able to teach the ability to aspirate,” he says. 

“That’s because the industry hasn’t quite decided – the evidence hasn’t quite been finalised on either side of the fence to aspirate or not.” 

Trainees on all Harley Academy aesthetics courses – from Foundation Training to Level 7 Diploma – are taught to aspirate. We also expect all our students to aspirate during their mentoring sessions, as part of their practical injecting education.

Should aesthetics practitioners aspirate - Aspirating Debate - Expert Advice from Dr Tristan Mehta, Founder of Harley Academy

The approach Dr Tristan believes is a better indicator of safety

“For me and my practice, the best way to mitigate any serious adverse events for injectables is to inject very small quantities,” advises Dr Tristan. “Also move the needle tip frequently.”

“I think that’s more reassuring than a negative aspirate followed by a significant bolus,” he notes. “For me, that’s a little bit risky in terms of relying on that aspiration as a form of safety.”

Should aesthetics practitioners aspirate - advice for new injectors aesthetics courses injectables training Level 7 Harley Academy

If you are going to aspirate, bear these considerations in mind…

  1. You should apply this to every area you inject
  2. It cannot replace other safety measures
  3. Know that it may preclude you from other safety measures such as movement.

Dr Tristan’s approach in summary…

  1. Inject less than 0.1ml with a needle
  2. Constantly move the needle
  3. Inject perpendicular to the vessels
  4. Inject with the bevel down, at an acute angle, to avoid multiple tissue planes
  5. Low pressure, low volume
  6. Use a 25g cannula or larger
  7. Use small, sharp needles
  8. Aspiration is not enough.
Should aesthetics practitioners aspirate - aspiration positive aspirate Harley Academy aesthetics training courses Level 7 Diploma qualification

Learn more about aspirating as a new aesthetics practitioner

At Harley Academy, your aesthetic medicine training will include aspirating in both practical and theoretical terms. 

Once you fully understand the technique, you can make your own informed decision as to whether you aspirate in your own practice.

For further information and advice on this, check out our New Injector’s Guide to Aspirating.

If you’d like to explore a career in aesthetic medicine and are interested in finding out more, join our next Aesthetics Careers Open Evening event

You can come along in person or join remotely via Zoom to listen to our experts talk through their journey from the NHS to full time roles in aesthetics. 

They’ll take you through frequently asked questions, the training and mindset you need to succeed and where the career opportunities are. You’ll also get to watch a live injectables treatment demonstration.

This free event is a fantastic resource for anyone considering making the move into medical aesthetics.