You probably already know that you have a variety of options when it comes to choosing an injectable dermal filler. People have a wide range of concerns when it comes to their appearance, so there is a wide range of injectables available to address those different concerns.
Some injectables get more attention than others. For example, you’ve probably heard celebrities talk about how much they love Botox or Juvederm. But you might not have heard much about Sculptra, another type of injectable filler. Sculptra’s a bit different from the other options available.
Here’s what you need to know about this filler and what makes it different from the rest.
What’s in Sculptra?
One thing that sets Sculptra apart from other fillers available is the main ingredient. The filler’s active ingredient is poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA). PLLA is a synthetic form of lactic acid, a substance produced by the human body. If you’ve ever felt sore after a tough workout, then you’re already familiar with lactic acid. Lactic acid doesn’t just contribute to muscle soreness, however. It also helps to stimulate collagen production for a more youthful look.
Other fillers typically contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which is a type of sugar that’s also produced by the body, or calcium hydroxyapatite, a material found in human bones. Although the ingredients you’ll find in injectable fillers all have the same goal, to plump up the skin or restore lost volume, the methods they use to do this vary somewhat. Different fillers also work better in different areas of the face.
What Does Sculptra Do?
The goal of Sculptra is to restore lost volume in the face. It’s used to plump up sunken cheeks or to fill in deep creases such as the nasolabial folds. One of the original uses of Sculptra was to treat fat loss and facial wasting in patients living with HIV. Since then, it’s also been approved by the FDA for purely aesthetic and cosmetic purposes.
Sculptra works somewhat differently from other fillers. While an injection with hyaluronic acid will immediately provide a filling effect, making the skin look plumper and helping to smooth lines instantly, Sculptra works more slowly. The PLLA stimulates the production of collagen in the skin, prompting gradual rejuvenation.
As the body begins to produce more collagen in the dermis, the facial volume is restored. Lines and creases start to smooth out and the cheeks begin to look less sunken.
What’s Treatment with Sculptra Like?
For the most part, treatment with Sculptra is similar to treatment with any other dermal filler. Your plastic surgeon will use a fine needle to inject the substance into the target area. The filler is usually mixed with lidocaine to improve your comfort. Your surgeon might also use a numbing cream on your skin before starting the injections.
The biggest difference between Sculptra injections and other dermal fillers is the number of treatments you’ll need. You’re likely to need just a single session if you choose a filler made from hyaluronic acid. In the case of Sculptra, a series of sessions, scheduled several weeks apart, is often recommended to produce the desired results. Depending on your goals, you might need up to three sessions.
How Long Does Sculptra Last?
Another substantial difference between Sculptra and other fillers is how long the results will last. You might need three sessions and it might take a few months before you see dramatic results from the injection. However, you’re likely to see results that last for up to two years.
In the case of hyaluronic fillers, results can last anywhere from just a few months to about a year and a half. Calcium hydroxyapatite fillers such as Radiesse usually provide results that last for about one year.
Is Sculptra right for you? A board-certified facial plastic surgeon can help you decide. Dr. Shervin Naderi is a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in nasal surgery and injectable fillers at his practice in Virginia. To learn more about Sculptra, call 703-481-0002 (Reston, VA Office) or 301-222-2020 (Chevy Chase, MD). You can also contact us online for more information.