Non-surgical Procedures

Lip enhancement using cannula technique – what it really feels like with Chloe Morello

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More



Have you been thinking about getting your lips enhanced with dermal fillers? If so, it’s important to know that having lip injections with sharp tipped needles may result in more bruising and swelling than when a blunt tipped cannula is used. Chloe Morello, Beauty Blogger and Instagram Influencer was keen to have her lips enhanced using the cannula method to assess whether she had less bruising and swelling than when she had her lips enhanced using sharp tipped needles.

At Chloe’s consultation, Dr Sara Mullen (MBBS, FRACGP, Cosmetic Doctor) explained (2.46) why the Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses at Victorian Cosmetic Institute use the cannula technique. “Traditionally dermal filler has been injected in the lips using needles. The aim of cannula technique is to reduce the amount of trauma to the lip, which results in less swelling and less potential of bruising occurring. This means that lip enhancements can be truly a ‘walk-in, walk-out’ treatment where people can go back to work without looking like their lips have had trauma to them.”

Dermal fillers are composed of a natural, sugar-based substance called hyaluronic acid which replaces volume and absorbs water in areas of the lip where volume has been lost. We use several dermal filler brands but under Therapeutic Goods Administration rules are unable to name them.

Cannula vs. needles: what is the difference?

Using sharp tipped needles to inject dermal filler was popular 10 to 15 years ago. Since these needles can’t distinguish what they’re passing through they will pierce through anything in the subcutaneous tissue or skin. Used at multiple injection points this can result in a higher incidence of bruising and swelling, forcing some people to take time off work.


Led by Dr Gavin Chan, our Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses prefer to use cannulas instead of needles to inject dermal filler into the lips. The blunt tip of the cannula slides easily through subcutaneous layers, “meaning any fibrous attachments that feel hard to pass through can be avoided. A different pathway can then be found, to inject long threads of dermal filler in.” View our before and after photos using the cannula lip filler technique here

Benefits of using cannula for lip enhancement

There are many benefits of using a blunt tipped cannula for lip enhancement including:

  1. Decreased risk of bleeding and bruising: While sharp needles can pierce veins and arteries below the skin, a blunt cannula can push them aside.
  2. Less pain: Having multiple injections with sharp needles around the lips can feel painful and uncomfortable. While a blunt cannula under the skin can feel like a ‘pushing’ feeling, it is usually not uncomfortable or painful.
  3. Minimal downtime: If sharp needles have caused bruising and swelling, it can feel embarrassing to be seen in public. The tipped blunt cannula technique reduces the likelihood of swelling and bruising, requiring minimal downtime.
  4. Accuracy: When a Cosmetic Doctor or Cosmetic Nurse uses a blunt tipped cannula they can inject dermal filler more accurately to achieve the results our patients desire.
  5. Safer technique: A blunt tipped cannula cannot pierce an artery. This ensures that it is a much safer option for lip enhancement treatments.

Lip enhancement result – blunt cannula technique

During the consultation with Chloe, Dr Sara Mullen noted that to achieve lip symmetry, it is important to have dermal filler treatment in the upper and lower lips. An ideal lip shape is where the lower lip is two-thirds bigger than the upper lip. Having an upper and lower lip of similar sizes can result in lips looking unnatural.

After using dermal filler in Chloe’s top lip, Dr Sara Mullen then used some in the bottom lip. This is sometimes called ‘the dumbbell effect’ where the centres of the lips have less volume than other lip areas. Dr Sara explained that, “a natural bottom lip always has a small divot in the middle of it. A ‘giveaway’ of having too much lip filler is when the bottom lip looks like a sausage”.

best lips

Will I feel pain when I’m having my lips enhanced with dermal filler?

Before Chloe’s lips were injected with dermal filler, ice was applied at the corners of her mouth. Because pain and temperature sensation travel along the same nerve pathway, using ice to numb the area ensured she felt minimal discomfort before local anaesthetic was injected. Once the corners of her mouth were numb, a sharp needle was used to make small holes on either side of her mouth through which the cannula was inserted. When Chloe was asked about any pain she felt during the cannula technique she said, “it doesn’t hurt at all. I felt the cannula moving through my lip area but had no pain.”

Other pain minimisation techniques we use include:

  • Local anaesthetic cream: Before your lip injections, we can apply local anaesthetic cream to your skin to help numb it.
  • Inhaled anaesthetic gas: Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is commonly used for dental procedures and during labour. The effect of the inhaled anaesthetic gases we use during your lip procedure will wear off quickly so you don’t have any lingering effects once the treatment is over.

The best skincare products to use after your lip enhancement

After you’ve had lip enhancement with dermal fillers, it’s important to use skincare that nourishes, protects and hydrates your lips. Synergie LipService is a hydrating cosmeceutical lip treatment that protects your lips against environmental ageing. The combination of moisturising hyaluronic acid, Tripeptide complex, Lanolin and spearmint infused Stevia makes this lip treatment ideal for use as a gloss effect during the day and for replenishing lips during the night. INIKA Certified Organic Lip Balm with 82% certified organic ingredients is ideal to apply over your favourite INIKA mineral lip tint. The combination of Shea butter, Vitamin E and peppermint oil plumps and nourishes your lips.

Need some help with your skincare choices? Our highly trained and experienced Skin Therapists can help you with a skin care regime that achieves optimal results. Call us on 1300 863 824 to book your skin consultation in.

More about Chloe Morello Beauty Blogger and Instagram Influencer

Where to get the best cannula lip enhancements in Melbourne

Since 2005 led by Dr Gavin Chan, our highly trained Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses have successfully enhanced thousands of people’s lips with dermal fillers using the blunt cannula technique. To find out how our dermal fillers can enhance your lips and make you look and feel wonderful call us on 1300 863 824 or book a consultation online now.