Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid) is a biodegradable injectable filler that restores and corrects the deep wrinkles and signs of facial fat loss that develop as we age. In 2004, Sculptra was approved for use in the United States. Sculptra is completely different from every other filler available. It slowly and gradually fills in the deep wrinkles over time by building collagen.
Sculptra is administered by many small injections into the deep skin layer. These biodegradable particles slowly stimulate your own body’s collagen production to build up the skin.
Are the results immediate?
No. Immediately after your treatment, it may appear that Sculptra filled in the area because of swelling from the injections and water used to dilute Sculptra. In a few days, however, the swelling goes down and you will likely look just as you did before the treatment. Because your body gradually produces its own collagen with this procedure, results will be subtle and gradual over time. This is typically a good thing, though, since you don’t have to reveal your procedure to anyone and no one will have to know exactly how you are achieving your youthful look.
How many treatments are required?
Every patient is different, but Dr. Brown can decide the appropriate number of treatment session you will need. Patients with more severe problems may require 3 to 6 sessions. Those with milder problems may only need 2 or 3 of them.
How long do treatment results last?
Results will vary among patients, but treatments typically last for up to 2 years or longer. Touch-up treatments may be needed after that to maintain the desired effect.
What should I expect during a treatment session?
- After a consultation with Dr. Brown, your Sculptra treatment will be scheduled.
- Prior to the treatment session, Dr. Brown "numbs" the area with local anesthetic injections (similar to those from your dentist). This will minimize any pain from the Sculptra injections.
- Dr. Brown then injects small amounts of Sculptra with a very fine needle. Multiple injections are typically given.
- Dr. Brown then massages the area thoroughly to distribute the product evenly.
- An ice pack is applied to the treated area to help reduce swelling.
What should I do and expect after treatment?
Right after your treatment session, you may experience redness, swelling, pain, or bruising in the area. These effects are not typically severe and often resolve in a few hours to a few days. Make-up can be applied a few hours after treatment if no complications are present (such as open wounds or bleeding). For the first 24 hours after treatment, you should apply an ice pack to the area for a few minutes at a time to help reduce swelling. For one week after treatment, you should massage the treated area (2-3 times a day). Avoid excessive sun exposure or tanning beds until any swelling and redness have completely resolved.
How soon can I go back to my regular daily activities?
Most patients feel comfortable after a Sculptra treatment and are able to resume normal activities immediately. However, it is not wise to plan an important social function for several days after the procedure, just in case you experience bruising or other side effects.
Do the injections hurt?
Dr. Brown typically applies a topical numbing cream or local anesthetic to the area to minimize any pain with the injections. Patients may still feel some discomfort, but this is typically minimal.
Is Sculptra safe?
Although Sculptra is rather new to the U.S., it has been safely injected and marketed under the name “New-Fill” in Europe since 1999. In fact, the material in Sculptra has already been widely used in U.S. medicine for many years as dissolvable stitches and various implants. Sculptra is biodegradable (easily broken down by the body) and is converted into natural components of the body. Also, Sculptra is synthetic, meaning that it is not derived from animal or human tissue. So, there is no need for a skin test before treatment, and there is no theoretical risk of acquiring an infectious disease from the product.
What are the possible side effects with Sculptra?
The most common side effects with Sculptra can occur after any injection and include bruising, bleeding, swelling, redness, tenderness, or pain. These effects can last, on average, 3 to 17 days. As with any skin injection, there is also a risk of infection.
One possible delayed side effect with Sculptra is small bumps under the skin in the treated area. These small bumps are typically not visible or bothersome, and may only be noticed when you press on the treated skin. The skin bumps tend to occur within 6 to 12 months after the first treatment. They may sometimes resolve on their own. Rarely, visible bumps, sometimes with redness, have also been reported.
For more information: Please visit the Sculptra web site.