How big is your BOTOX needle?

Different Sizes for BOTOX Cosmetic needles

When I first trained to perform BOTOX injections.  I used 30 gauge needles.  I think these are still the most popular needles used for BOTOX Cosmetic made by Allergan.  But as I got into vein sclerotherapy with Asclera, I started using smaller needles and one day I thought, why not use the smaller needle for BOTOX.  My wife at the time was skeptical, and I gave it a try and it worked very very well.  This was back in 2006.  Now I think the use of smaller than 30 gauge needles for BOTOX has caught on.  The smaller needles tend to be much more expensive, but I think it’s worthwhile.

That is not a small BOTOX needle.  No real needles were injected in the making of this photo.
That is not a small BOTOX needle. No real needles were injected in the making of this photo.

Disclaimer:  Photo above is of a model, not a real patient.  The doctor in the picture above is Calvin Lee, but not Calvin Lee, MD.  (Both people in the picture have the same name).

Smaller is usually better

A smaller needle used for Botox is usually better.   Smaller needles hurt less, bruise less, and cause less damage to surrounding tissues such as nerves and blood vessels.  But there’s a point where a smaller needle might blunt more quickly or bend.  So in my mind there’s a sweet spot for picking the right sized BOTOX needle.

32 gauge needle

For me, the right sized BOTOX needle is a 32 gauge needle (smaller than a 30 gauge).  I am also currently trying out the possibility of 33 gauge needles.  The larger the gauge, the smaller the needle.  a 32 gauge needle roughly .23 mm in outer diameter.  a 33 gauge needle is .21 mm in outer diameter.  Compare that to a standard 30 gauge needle which is .31 mm in outer diameter.

I’m slightly concerned that the 33 gauge needle will dull quicker, but I still need more experience with the 33 gauge needle.

Wikipedia has a needle gauge comparison chart for diameters.

The manufacturer of the needle matters

The different brands of needles have vastly different needles in my mind.  Some are sharper, the bevel is different, and the ability to stay sharp is different among the brands.  I have also found that needles will be slightly different from one to another – even in the same box.  If you are reading this and wondering which brand, I would recommend trying a few different ones yourself.   If you need to know which one I use, feel free to call our Modesto Botox Practice – Surgical Artistry.

I tend to be very picky with needles – I value fine craftsmanship

I am an acupuncturist so I am probably a bit strange with my attitude toward needles.  I frequently use needles that are smaller than a 34 gauge needle for acupuncture.  So I value fine craftsmanship when it comes to needles.  For acupuncture, I routinely use Seirin needles.  They have extremely fine needles for facial rejuvenation acupuncture.

facial rejuvenation acupuncture needles
facial rejuvenation acupuncture needles

I have learned, that like sutures, the smaller the needle or the smaller the suture, the more expensive the product.  But it’s understandable due to the challenges of manufacturing.

Visit us in Modesto, California for BOTOX injections

I also like to use small needles for Juvederm injections – smaller than the ones that come in the box.  But that’s another discussion and needles need to be FDA approved, and thus, this would be considered an off-Label-FDA usage.

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