What is Sculptra?
Sculptra is injectable poly-L-lactic acid. Poly-L-lactic acid is the same material that dissolvable sutures have been made from for decades, but instead of it being a thread, it is a powder. This powder is suspended in water and then injected. Sculptra is synthetically made and it is not derived from humans or animals.
How does Sculptra work?
When Sculptra is injected into the fat below the skin, which stimulates our bodies to produce collagen. This collagen growth is gradual and happens over approximately 2 months. Therefore, the actual “filling material” is your own collagen.
Where is Sculptra used?
Sculptra is a global facial volumizer. It is used to change the concavities of the face due to the aging process back to youthful gentle convexity, shedding years off of your appearance. The goal of Sculptra is to give your face the fullness it had when you were in your late 20’s or 30’s, and nothing more. The goal is not to make your face look fat or distorted.
Dr. Stanislaw usually has patients bring in a picture of themselves when they were in their late 20’s or 30’s to show them the goal of the injections. The goal is to remove the shadows that you see in your face, which are generally noticed in reflections of car or store windows.
Sculptra can be used to provide a non-surgical browlift in patients who have hollowing of the temples by filling these hollows and raising the lateral eyebrows. It can correct depressions of the cheeks (nasojugal grooves), smile lines (nasolabial or melolabial folds), and marionette lines. Sculptra can also be used to improve the appearance of the jawline by filling pre-jowl depressions and the volume lost in the cheeks that occurs in front of the ears and behind the jowls. This is what people call a Liquid Facelift.
Does Sculptra work instantly?
No. Sculptra stimulates your body to increase collagen production gradually over a two month period. People usually undergo a Sculptra injection every two months until the desired endpoint is achieved. Dr. Stanislaw informs patients to not expect a difference until after the second injection.
How long does Sculptra last?
The FDA has confirmed that the improvements from Sculptra will last for 24 months. Dr. Stanislaw has been using Sculptra since 2009, and he has yet to “touch up” someone who he treated with Sculptra.
How many Sculptra treatments will I need?
Dr. Stanislaw recommends his patients to receive a Sculptra treatment every two months, for a total of 4 visits. As a general rule, the older you are, the more injections you will require. There are two reasons for this: 1. The younger you are the better your body will make collagen. 2. The older you are the more volume you have lost, and the more Sculptra injections will be needed. Therefore, if you are in your 40’s, you may need only one or two injections. If you are in your 80’s you may need 6 injections; and yes, Dr. Stanislaw has had a fair number of patients in their 80’s that have undergone Sculptra injections.
What will I look like after the Sculptra injection?
Immediately after the injection, the depressions of the face will be gone and you will get a glimpse of the goal of the injections. However, 24 hours later the water will be absorbed by your body and you will go back to the way you looked before the injection. Gradually over the next two months you will see the volume increase in the areas that were injected.
Will I have a bruise after a Sculptra injection?
The amount of bruising after a Sculptra injection depends on the patient. Some patients bruise easier than others. A lot of patients don’t have any bruising following the Sculptra injection, but there are patients that bruise every time after the injection. Often it depends on luck. The Sculptra injection can be administered on someone three times and never give them a bruise, but on the fourth injection, it can result in a bruise.
In case you do have a bruise, it is advised for patients not to book a Sculptra injection 10 days prior to any engagement where a visible bruise is unacceptable (weddings, parties, etc…)
How much discomfort is associated with a Sculptra injection?
Sculptra has a numbing medication added to the solution, so it’s generally unnecessary to use a topical numbing agent prior to the injection. Some patients complain about mild aches at the site of injection for one or two days after the treatment. This discomfort is mild and can often be treated with an over the counter pain reliever.
What are my instructions after a Sculptra injection?
You need to massage the areas that were injected for 5 minutes, 5 times per day for 5 days. This step is very important and helps distribute the product evenly to prevent palpable bumps.
Applying cold packs to the injected area for the first 24 hours after the injection can reduce swelling and any associated pain.
Try to avoid, bending, lifting, or straining for at least one week after the procedure.
Procedures/Treatments often performed in conjunction with a Sculptra injection
Sculptra injections are often performed either prior to, or after a facelift and neck lift. Sculptra injections can be combined with topical Retin-A, topical Vitamin C, topical Vitamin E, microdermabrasions and facial peels. The use of Retin-A (tretinoin) cream is highly recommended before, during, and after Sculptra injections. Although there are no studies to prove it, anecdotally, Dr. Stanislaw has observed that the use of Retin-A at the time of the Sculptra injections stimulates better collagen synthesis, making more facial volume per injection.