The deep tissues of the face change over time as we age. In addition to changes in the bone structure the fatty tissues of the mid and lower face migrate or shift downward leaving a hollowed appearance above and increased fullness below. While there are several cosmetic procedures today that address facial volume changes, Sculptra is unique in stimulating replacement of collagen and thereby increasing natural tissue volume.
Sculptra is an FDA-approved injectable made from synthetic biodegradable (can be broken down by the body) and biocompatible (will not harm the body) material known as poly-L-lactic acid, or PLLA. Sculptra does not require a skin test and it helps to replace lost volume by stimulating new collagen production. The process requires a series of injections 6 to 8 weeks apart. The collagen production builds gradually over time. Sculptra is referred to as a facial “volumizer” and not as a “filler” because the results are not immediate like a filler and the results depend on stimulation of natural collagen volume. While results can last for two years or longer after the initial series of volumizing sessions an annual or semi-annual touch-up is often recommended.
Sculptra can reverse volume loss in the temple area, mid- and lower face as well as the region around the mouth. Sculptra is not injected into the lips. Sculptra can effectively correct and improve hollow temples, flat cheekbones, and hollow cheeks as well as soften prominent cheekbones, deep nasolabial folds (smile lines from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth) and marionette lines (lines descending from the corners of the mouth downward to the chin). In addition, Sculptra can help to define the jawline and better frame the face.
The Sculptra Treatment
Sculptra Aesthetic is injected under the skin over a series of sessions. The number of injections per treatment will depend on the level of correction necessary. A topical numbing agent is used to make the treatment more comfortable. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes.
You may experience some swelling immediately after each treatment, which can help show you the results once deep wrinkles, folds, and hollows are fully treated. Swelling typically subsides within a few days. The appearance improves gradually over time as collagen production increases. To obtain the full benefit of Sculptra injections, it is important to complete the recommended course of sessions.
Most patients receive three to four treatments over six months, generally spaced six weeks apart. A full course will produce a more youthful appearance that can last longer than two years.
What Makes Sculptra Different?
Sculptra adds volume to reduce hollows and soften deep folds, which can help give a lift. The choice between hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers like Juvederm and volumization with Sculptra often comes down to the amount of volume that must be replaced, the age of the patient and maintenance.
If only a small amount of filler is needed, hyaluronic acid fillers may be a better option. If more dermal filler is necessary, Sculptra may be most cost effective over time.
Potential Side Effects
Sculptra was approved by the FDA in 2009 for cosmetic purposes and it is a very safe treatment with very few side effects. As with other injectable treatments, redness, swelling, pain and bruising may be present at the injection sites. These side effects are typically mild and go away within a few hours or a few days.