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What is Sculptra?

Sculptra is a dermal injection that gradually replaces lost collagen. Collagen is usually lost during the aging process. Replacing the lost collagen helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hollow areas, and bony areas on the face. Sculptra is often used to correct smile lines, marionette lines, wrinkles on the chin, and hollow temples. This product is made of a synthetic, biocompatible materiel called poly-L-lactic acid. Sculptra is FDA approved.

How Does Sculptra Work?

Sculptra works by stimulating the body’s natural collagen production. Collagen is a fibrous protein that gives support to the structure of the skin. Collagen also supports hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin to retain moisture, and elastin, that helps to maintain firm, tight skin. By the age of forty many individuals have already lost twenty percent of their collagen. The Sculptra solution is injected below the skin and collagen is gradually produced over the course of a few weeks. Volume in the treatment areas becomes noticeable over this time period. It is often necessary to repeat the injections a few times over the course of three to four months to achieve desired results. These results can last for up to two year. The results of Sculptra are usually softer and more natural than other dermal injections.

What Are the Steps of The Procedure?

The first step to any cosmetic procedure is to consult a qualified professional. This consultation will consist of discussing the areas you wish to treat, the results you want to achieve, any side effects associated with the procedure, and any other questions or concerns you may have. Once the consultation is complete, then an appointment for the procedure will be made. To begin the procedure a topical anesthetic may be applied to eliminate any discomfort during the injections, but is not required. Then your doctor will inject the areas you discussed with a very thin needle filled with the Sculptra solution. This process can take anywhere from fifteen to sixty minutes. After the procedure is completed you may return to normal activities. You will be required to ice and massage the areas treated as instructed by your doctor. You may experience some tenderness, redness, and swelling at the injection sites. These symptoms should subside within two to seven days. You may notice some plumping in the area where the injections took place, this is just a combination of the water mixed with the poly-L-lactic acid and swelling. This effect will subside within a few days. Final results will gradually begin to appear over the course of a few weeks. Often the injections have to be repeated three times over the course of a few months for desired results to be achieved.

In What Areas is Sculptra Used?

There are many areas that the Sculptra solution can be injected. The most common areas are marionette lines, chin wrinkles, and smile lines. Sculptra can also be used to define the jaw line and to add volume to hollowing cheeks or temples. These injections are meant to add volume to shallow areas of the skin and to smooth out wrinkles. Sculptra is not recommended to be used under the eyes or in the lips.

How Long Does it Take for Sculptra to Work?

Sculptra works by stimulating your body’s natural function to create more collagen. This makes it difficult to give an exact amount of time that it takes to see results. Most patients see results within a few weeks. Although initially after the procedure the area may look plumper, once the swelling subsides and the water that was injected with the poly-L-lactic acid is absorbed your appearance will return to how it was before the injections. As more collagen begins to be produced, visible results will gradually start to appear.

How Long Does Scultpra Last?

The results of Sculptra can last for up to two years after the initial course of injections. It is recommended that you receive repeat injections as you approach the two year mark to maintain results and avoid returning to your original appearance. This is a considerably large difference when compared to most hyaluronic fillers that only last for a few months.

Are You a Good Candidate for Scultpra?

Sculptra is recommended for adults that are in good health that wish to add volume gradually to certain areas of their face. This will reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. This treatment is also meant to fill hollow areas of the face that are present due to fat loss. Sculptra is ideal if you are looking for gradual, subtle, and natural results. If you have any active skin infections or medical conditions, a consultation with your primary doctor is necessary before undergoing any cosmetic procedures.

What are the Side Effects of Sculptra?

The side effects of Sculptra are typical to other dermal injections. The most common side effects are swelling, bruising, tenderness, injection site pain, itching, bleeding, and lumps. Your doctor will discuss after care with you to reduce these side effects.

What to Expect After the Injections?

After the Sculptra injections you may return to your normal daily activities. You will need to ice the area after treatment. You will also need to massage the treated area multiple times a day for a few days after receiving injections. You may wear makeup immediately after treatment if desired. You should avoid facials for two weeks following the procedure. A few days following the injections, your appearance will return to how it was prior to treatment. This is normal as it takes a few weeks for visible results to appear. There may be some bruising, tenderness, or swelling in the treated areas. A follow up should be scheduled for a few weeks after initial injections.

Why Sculptra Instead of Juvederm?

Sculptra is not a filler like Juvederm, it is a collagen stimulator. It takes multiple sessions and a few weeks to see results from Sculptra. The results that you are left with after using Sculptra are beautiful, gradual, natural, and subtle. Juvederm is a hyaluronic gel that gives immediate results. Although both are quality products it really depends on the look that you are trying to achieve. Both will help diminish the look of shallow, aging skin. If you are looking for a “quick fix”, you should probably talk to your doctor about Juvederm. If you are looking for something that will last longer and is more subtle and natural, than call your doctor to set up a consultation to talk about Sculptra.

Dr. O’Daniel

Louisville Plastic Surgeon combines science and art to achieve harmony, proportion and balance at his Louisville plastic surgery office. He brings extensive training and experience and 30 years of experience to the full spectrum of cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures, with dual board certifications in facial plastic surgery and plastic surgery, fellowship training in facial nerve surgery and craniofacial surgery and pediatric plastic surgery.

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