Sculptra: Then and Now
Let’s begin by recognizing what Sculptra is and how it works. Scultpra is composed of a synthetic product called Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which has been widely used for decades in dissolvable sutures and soft tissue implants. The FDA originally approved PLLA for the treatment of facial fat loss in patients with HIV. Subsequently, Sculptra was approved by the FDA for non-HIV patients to treat lost volume to the face due to aging and wrinkles.
Sculptra got a bad name. My original opinion had been that Sculptra was used in patients who didn’t necessarily need it, resulting in a fake, sometimes overfilled look. Also, the rate of occurrence of nodules, or post-treatment bumps, was too high and not worth the risk for most patients. These nodules presented the biggest drawback to Sculptra and are the main reason that it got a bad name. The only solution to these bumps was to wait months or years from them to go away, so many patients either didn’t want to take the risk or developed horror stories in regard to this unfortunate problem. However, there is new research out. Older HIV studies show 56% chance of occurrence of nodules in patients, where now, with a higher dilution, there is less than a 1% chance of occurrence of nodules. This substantial decrease to a drawback to Sculptra has made the balance between the pros and the cons much more even.
Sculptra’s benefits make it unique from other types of injections or fillers.
- Sculptra provides a natural and gradual replacement of collagen to improve volume loss and facial contours. I like to think of it as a fertilizer, and not a filler. It is like laying down seed and your own body is creating the volume.
- Another advantage is Sculptra’s longevity. Most studies suggest that the increase of skin thickness can last up totwo years, but I am confident in seeing results with optimal treatments lasting up to five years.
- Sculptra is also different from other fillers because it can address broader depressions, like sunken cheeks.
As you can see in the before and after image, Sculptra is a volumizing agent for larger areas. I believe Sculptra is now a much more viable option for many patients.
If you want to learn more about Sculptra and see if it is right for you, feel free to contact me or come see me.