It is a unique filler for a facial rejuvenation. In a strict sense of a word it is not “a filler” like Restylane or Juvederm, because the effects are not immediate. It is a poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) based treatment. Tiny particles of PLLA are mixed with sterile water and Lidocaine (for comfort), then injected into the area of decreased volume on the face, typically: temple areas, mid cheek, jaw line, nasolabial folds, chin area. Once injected, it begins working deep within the skin to stimulate collagen production, reinforcing the skin’s inner structure and restoring its volume. It is recommended that the patient massages the injected areas for 5 minutes, 5 times per day for 5 days. That assures the more even distribution of PLLA, thus more smooth and natural volume restoration.
Typical injection schedule is 2 vials per session 4-6 weeks apart. Again, this is necessary for more smooth and continuous collagen stimulation. The quantity of vials depends on the individual’s needs, determined by age, the degree of volume loss and skin elasticity. For an average, a 40-45 year-old patient may use 4 vials; an older individual may require 4-6 vials or more.
Right after injection it may seem that results are immediate, however, this is the volume created by a sterile water, which lasts approximately 24-36 hours. I tell my clients to go out that evening since they look great! The following day, that volume is absorbed and the face may appear as if nothing was done. Then gradually, the collagen is being formed by the body and in 3-6 months we see a “restored” face. After that the effect lasts on average 25 months, possibly longer. The clinical trial of Sculptra was terminated at 25 months, most patients still had their full effect of the treatment.
What are the advantages of using Sculptra over other fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse)?
- It works subtly, over a period of time
- It lasts much longer that the average filler
- It provides “global” facial restoration, not individual wrinkle correction
- It easily combines with Botox or Dysport or any other facial aesthetic treatments
- It improves skin quality
- It gives very natural appearance, no telltale signs of “something done”
What are the disadvantages of Sculptra?
- No immediate results. If the goal is to look better in a few weeks because of a high school reunion, it is not suitable. Other fillers provide immediate effect.
Is it FDA approved?
What are the side effects of Sculptra?
- Typical of any small office procedure/injection: bruising, swelling
- Rare infections of injection sites
- Soreness at the injection sites for 3-5 days
- Formation of small nodules under the skin if not injected evenly and massaged as instructed for the following 5 days. Those typically happen around the mouth and chin area, they are not visible, but palpable, and eventually over a period of several months dissolve on their own, no intervention is necessary.