July 25, 2022
Sculptra is a stimulatory type of injectable used to boost collagen production, in hopes of restoring lost volume and creating a more youthful appearance. A loss of volume is expected with age and this injectable filler is meant to help offset that loss. Keep reading to learn more about how Sculptra works and who should consider it!
It is made of a synthetic polymer called Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). This has been used in the human body since the 1960s and as a suture material since the 1970s. It was first brought to the market in 1999 and received FDA approval for the treatment of lipoatrophy (fat wasting) in HIV patients in 2004. Needless to say, Sculptra has been around and proven for many years.
The PLLA polymers stimulate collagen through a controlled inflammatory response. This causes stimulation of mostly Type I collagen. Type I collagen is the most abundant type of collagen in our bodies. As we age, we naturally build less collagen and at a slower rate. As a result, this leads to sagging skin, increased skin laxity, and increased folds and wrinkles. Sculptra helps to boost collagen to create a more youthful, full appearance of the face but also helps to support and improve the skin as well.
Typically, 2-3 treatment sessions are required. These are spaced 6-8 weeks apart. The number of vials required and treatment sessions required will be determined between you and your provider. Rebuilding collagen takes time. Results are not as immediate as with hyaluronic acid filler. Studies revealed a 66.5% increase in Type I collagen at 3 months post-treatment. These results can last well over a year; however, we recommend a yearly maintenance treatment after the initial treatment series.
So who is an ideal patient for Sculptra? Someone who has significant overall volume loss in the face may benefit from treatment. If you are starting to notice jowling, deeper folds near your nose, marionette lines, etc, then Sculptra may be a good option for you. Ideally, we start to treat patients with Sculptra in their 40s. For individuals who are very lean (think marathon runners, avid cyclists, etc), they may have significant volume loss in their 30s and are still great candidates for Sculptra. Sculptra is also a great option for patients older than their 40s. It may require additional treatments, but will result in a very natural, youthful restoration.
Whatever your age may be, if you are considering Sculptra, it is very important that you have realistic expectations. Remember, Sculptra stimulates collagen formation. This takes time and will not be immediate. It is very important that you and your provider discuss your treatment timeline and that you stick to the entire treatment plan. This will ensure that you see the best results. If you are looking for immediate results, then hyaluronic acid filler may be a better option for you. This is something to discuss with your provider.
There are some important contraindications to consider with Sculptra. Because it creates a local inflammatory response, it is not appropriate for patients who have underlying inflammatory-type auto-immune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, or other active inflammatory conditions. It is also contraindicated if patients have a history of keloid formation, active infection, immunosuppressant therapy, vasculitis, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you are unsure about any of your current/past medical history, discuss this with your provider.
Sculptra is a great option for treating volume loss and signs of aging in the face. It can be more cost effective than maintaining hyaluronic injections as it has greater longevity. It not only supports volume in the face and also can help improve skin.
If you are interested in learning more about Sculptra, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We offer complimentary skincare consultations and can walk you through any questions or concerns you might have!