Fast Facts


  • Radiesse and Restylane are dermal fillers that treat wrinkles and volume loss from aging.


  • Both fillers have mild common side effects like bruising or swelling.
  • More serious side effects are rare.


  • These injections are a relatively quick and easy procedure.
  • They usually require no downtime.


  • The average cost of Radiesse is $650 to $800 per syringe.
  • Restylane costs $350 to $800 per syringe.


  • For common uses like treating smile lines, Radiesse has a higher level of patient satisfaction.
  • Restylane can treat some conditions that Radiesse can’t.

Dermal fillers like Radiesse and Restylane help treat the appearance of wrinkles, skin folds, and the loss of volume that comes with aging.

Both dermal fillers have a gel-like consistency, and they work by using their shape to provide plumpness and volume under the skin.


Radiesse is a dermal filler that treats wrinkles and skin folds. It can also increase the volume in areas of the face that can sag over time due to aging. It’s approved to treat volume loss in the backs of hands.

Radiesse is made of opaque calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) gel microspheres that are injected into the skin during in-office procedures.


Restylane is a dermal filler formulated to treat wrinkles and skin folds in different areas of the face. Some forms of Restylane also increase fullness in areas like the lips and hollows under the eyes.

Restylane injections are made from hyaluronic acid, which is a clear, gel-like substance that also occurs naturally in the human body.

Radiesse and Restylane are in a class of dermal fillers used to treat some signs of aging in people 21 and older. They are both injectable, relatively non-invasive, and they start to work instantly.

They usually take only one or two treatment sessions to take full effect, according to Dr. Barry DiBernardo, medical director at New Jersey Plastic Surgery.

Both Radiesse and Restylane require an in-office consultation. They must be injected by licensed professional. The procedures are relatively quick and easy, and don’t require allergy tests (like some injectable fillers do).

It’s not unusual for a doctor treat you on the same day as your initial consultation.


Radiesse is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat signs of aging in the face and backs of the hands, by adding volume under the skin and smoothing wrinkles and skin folds.

It’s most often useful for treating signs of aging around the mouth and chin. But it can also work to give people with HIV the appearance of plumpness and volume where they have lost fat in the face.

A doctor will take your medical history and discuss your desired results before deciding how many injections you will need. They may ask you to lie down or sit still in a chair.

Filler injections tend to cause a momentary pinching sensation. That said, you can elect to start your treatment off with a numbing cream applied to the skin before you get your injections.

A lidocaine injection or local anesthetic may be used to reduce pain. Many Radiesse providers may use the newer Radiesse + formulation, which includes a small amount of lidocaine already in the syringe.


Like Radiesse, Restylane is an in-office procedure that often begins with discussing your medical history and what results you can expect from the treatment. Restylane is available in several different formulations to best treat different areas of the face:

  • Restylane
  • Restylane-L with lidocaine
  • Restylane Lyft with lidocaine
  • Restylane Silk
  • Restylane Refyne
  • Restylane Defyne

The doctor will determine your dosage, and which type of the drug will work best for you. Then, they will disinfect, apply an optional numbing cream, and mark the injection sites before giving you the injections.

Radiesse vs. Restylane for lips

Restylane Silk is FDA-approved for lip augmentation and for treating wrinkles around the mouth and chin.

Radiesse can be used in wrinkles near the mouth, but should not be used to augment lips.

Radiesse vs. Restylane under eyes

Neither Radiesse nor Restylane is FDA-approved for the tear trough or “dark circle” zone under the eyes.

That said, doctors will sometimes use either drug for an “off-label” treatment under the eyes. Since the skin is so thin and sensitive in this area, Restylane, made from relatively harmless hyaluronic acid, is a more likely choice.

Radiesse vs Restylane for cheeks

Radiesse and Restylane can both boost volume in the cheeks through sub-dermal injections. Restylane Lyft is specifically made for plumping and smoothing wrinkles in the cheeks and hands.

Both Radiesse and Restylane require only quick, in-office procedures after the initial consultation. Depending on the amount of injections you need, it could take between 15 minutes and one hour for your appointment.

Recovery time is minimal, and most people will be able to go back to their daily activities after their procedure.

Both fillers will provide some immediate results after one visit and will take full effect within a few days. Both can also sometimes require an additional touch-up visit. Efficacy and satisfaction is different for each drug.

In one 2005 split-face study of 60 dermal filler users in Europe, researchers found that the study subjects preferred Radiesse two to one over Restylane for treatment of smile lines.

Additionally, evaluators noted lasting results at 12 months post-treatment at a rate of 79 percent with Radiesse, compared with 43 percent with Restylane. The same study showed that 30 percent less Radiesse was needed to provide a comparable result to that of Restylane.

However, Radiesse isn’t an appropriate treatment for some areas, like the lips, where Restylane will work.


Radiesse says its product lasts a year or more “in many patients.”


Restylane claims its different types of product last between 6 and 18 months.

You shouldn’t get any dermal filler if you have an active skin infection, rash, acute acne, or have another condition that will require surgery.


Radiesse has only been tested for safety on people who are 21 and older, and are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

You should not use Radiesse if you have a history of anaphylaxis or severe allergies of any kind. Those with bleeding disorders, or those taking blood-thinning medications should also abstain.


Restylane has only been tested for safety on people who are 21 and older, and are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

You should not use Restylane if you have a history of severe or multiple allergies associated with anaphylactic shock, or any type of bleeding disorder. Do not get this treatment if you are on blood-thinners.

You should use Restylane with caution of you are also on immunosuppression therapy or have a history of the herpes virus.

In most cases, dermal fillers are considered elective cosmetic pharmaceuticals and won’t be covered by your health insurance. Both treatments are usually billed per syringe. Costs depend on the number of syringes used and areas you want treated.

Radiesse tends to cost between $650 and $800 per syringe, while Restylane tends to cost between $350 and $800 per syringe.

No pharmaceutical is without the risk of potential side effects. Users of both fillers have most commonly reported mild swelling, bruising, redness, pain, and itching at the injection sites. Most often, these symptoms resolve within one to two weeks.


In addition to the common mild side effects, people rarely develop skin nodules that can be treated with steroids.


In addition to the common mild side effects, Restylane may result in temporary reduced mobility when used in the hands. Rare but more serious side effects include tissue necrosis, lumps forming under the skin.

And in the very rare event that your doctor accidently injects Restylane into a blood vessel, it’s possible to experience vision problems, scarring, or even stroke.

Procedure typeInjectionInjection
Cost$650-$800 per syringe$350-$800 per syringe
PainMomentary pinchingMomentary pinching
Number of treatments neededOne or two 10-15-minute sessions.
Lasts 12 or more months.
One or two 10-minute sessions.
Lasts 6 to 18 months.
Expected resultsImmediate results.
Changes will fade gradually over time.
Immediate results.
Changes will fade gradually over time.
DisqualificationThose with the following should not have this treatment: active infection on skin, rash, acne, history of anaphylaxis, on blood thinners, pregnant, breastfeeding.Those with the following should not have this treatment: active infection on skin, rash, acne, history of anaphylaxis, on blood thinners, pregnant, breastfeeding.
Recovery timeImmediate, though there is a possibility of a few days or swelling/bruising)Immediate, though there is a possibility of a few days or swelling/bruising

It’s important to make sure you choose a health professional with extensive training and experience administering the filler you choose.


You can search the database of qualified providers for Radiesse injections here.


You can search the database of qualified providers for Restylane injections here.