Sculptra® Aesthetic is a facial volume enhancer that is ideal for people who have experienced significant volume loss in the face as a side effect of aging and weight loss. The main ingredient of this injectable material is poly-l-lactic acid, a biodegradable and biocompatible substance, which has been successfully used as surgical suture material for more than 25 years. Commercially, it is available as a dried powdery material of microscopic particles that is made into a liquid suspension in the doctor’s office, at least a day prior to its administration.
Sculptra® Aesthetic is different from the other dermal fillers, such as Radiesse®, Perlane®, or Juvederm®, because instead of immediately filling wrinkles and folds with a synthetic substance, Sculptra® Aesthetic stimulates your body to produce its own collagen to achieve the filling effect. Accordingly, it is best thought of as a volume enhancer rather than filler. It should perhaps be mentioned that Sculptra® Aesthetic received FDA approval for its cosmetic use only in 2009 despite the fact that it was available in Europe for almost two decades and was tested on over 200,000 patients in over 30 countries.
FACIAL VOLUME RESTORATION WITH SCULPTRA
The FDA approval of Sculptra® Aesthetic broadens the landscape of what plastic and cosmetic surgeons can offer to patients seeking and natural looking results from an aesthetic injectable. In fact, Sculptra® Aesthetic, previously marketed under the name Sculptra®, was the first product of its kind approved by the FDA for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss, or lipoatrophy, in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
As you age, a combination of support tissue loss, bone loss, muscle and collagen loss translates into visible volume loss, sagging, wrinkling, and sometimes a profound loss of facial balance. Although we cannot restore inevitable muscle and bone loss, the effects can be visually reversed by strategically injecting the face with dermal fillers or alternatively, with Sculptra, which stimulates skin cells to produce new collagen. Collagen is the most common and well known protein found in lower layers of the skin (Dermis). At a microscopic level, collagen regeneration occurs as bundles of collagen fibers start forming around individual Scuptra particles. The ultimate result is visible facial volume replenishment, a process that is gradual and takes several months to complete.
Sculptra® is increasingly being used instead of fat injections and fat grafts to treat large depressed areas of the face for an overall “lifting” effect. The aging face often shows certain common patterns, one important aspect of which is loss of volume in the cheeks, temples, jawline and under eyes. This volume loss not only changes the shape of the face from a more oval to a more rectangular one, but also loosens the cheek skin, accentuates the skin folds around the mouth and nose, and may exaggerate the jowling effect. Sculptra is the best injectable volume enhancer that is particularly suited for re-contouring the face by augmenting the critically important areas of the cheek, temple and jawline. Additionally, Sculptra can also be used for correction or softening of other skin folds between the nose and the mouth (nasolabial fold), the lines framing the mouth (marionette lines), and hollowness in the pre-jowl area. It should be pointed out that Sculptra should not be injected into the red area of the lip or into superficial wrinkles of the skin.
SCULPTRA FOR RESTORING FACIAL VOLUME
The Sculptra® Aesthetic treatment procedure entails injecting small amounts of Sculptra® Aesthetic under the skin which has been previously cleansed and numbed with a numbing cream. As with other injectable treatments, Sculptra® Aesthetic injections take about 20 minutes to half an hour. An ice pack is often used to reduce bleeding and swelling. You will be advised to periodically massage the area during the first few days following the treatment. You can resume normal activities immediately after Sculptra® Aesthetic injections, but strenuous activity is not recommended for 24 hours.
At first, on the day of Sculptra® Aesthetic injections and the following day, you see a dramatic improvement which diminishes over the following few days. This improvement is actually due to the fluid of injection, which gives you and your doctor an idea of what the final result will be. Over the next few weeks your body will produce new collagen that gradually and subtly restores the underlying structure of the skin by replacing the lost collagen. Given the delayed nature of the effects, results may not be noticeable until four weeks after a treatment, at which point another treatment may be performed. When having three to four Sculptra® Aesthetic sessions at a once a month interval, the added volume is at its maximum two to three months after the last treatment.
For most patients who are considered good candidates for Sculptra® Aesthetic injections, total volume restoration is not meant to be achieved in a single treatment session for one simple reason; injecting too much of the material at one time in one area would increase the likelihood of formation of lumps and bumps—an easily avoidable adverse outcome. Accordingly, most patients require 2-4 treatment sessions, in monthly intervals, depending on each patient’s unique facial features and particular expectations. It should be noted that the incremental nature of the volume correction with Sculptra® Aesthetic has the added advantage of giving the face a more natural appearance, while minimizing the chances of overcorrection. The results should last for at least 18-24 months, much longer than that obtained with dermal fillers like Restylane or Juvederm.
Allergy testing is not required prior to Sculptra injections. Sculptra® Aesthetic should not be injected while you have an active skin infection or inflammation in the treatment area.
Side effects of Sculptra® Aesthetic may include injection site discomfort, redness, bruising, bleeding, itching, and swelling. Other side effects may include the occasional formation of small lumps under the skin, some with delayed onset. Generally these bumps are not visible and may only be noticed when pressing on the treated area. Although these lumps eventually and slowly resolve over time without treatment, the best strategy is to prevent them in the first place. This can largely be achieved by a proper injecting technique that avoids putting too much material at a time in one area, avoids injecting highly concentrated suspensions, and allows a waiting period of at least 3 weeks between consecutive injections.
Unlike other more commonly used dermal fillers, like Restylane®, Perlane®, Juvederm® or Radiesse®, the privilege of administrating of Sculptra® Aesthetic is granted to a select group of cosmetic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists, who have met the training and experience requirements of this product. Dr. Dishakjian has been one of the earliest physicians in the San Fernando Valley to appreciate, adopt, and actively use this unique product
You may reach our Los Angeles medical spa and vein clinic by clicking the “Contact” button or by calling 818-832-4500. Our receptionist will be delighted to assist you with any enquiries regarding cost of Sculptra injections, additional information, or scheduling a consultation session with Dr. Dishakjian, the cosmetic surgeon of our Los Angeles medical spa. Consultations with the doctor are free with the purchase of any service. We charge a nominal refundable consultation fee for the first office visit only. This fee is fully credited towards a subsequently purchased service.