Sculptra® is an amazing product that is not a traditional type of “cosmetic filler”. It creates volume in the entire face rather than just individual folds and wrinkles. As we age, we all lose fat in our faces which is the volume associated with youthfulness.
As we age, we lose the fullness in the temples which causes the brow to drop and subsequently the upper eyelid to droop. The loss of fullness of the fat pad in the cheek causes decreased support for the lower eyelid and therefore we see hollowness and darkening which results in a tired look. The fat shifts from the mid cheek medially and inferiorly, and creates a deep smile line (shadow). Another shadow is created in the mid cheek where the fat pad formerly resided.
As the fat disappears or moves into another location, the fullness with the youthful light reflection is transformed into areas with shadow and bone (“aged, old, and tired”). By putting the volume back in its original place we are now replacing shadows and bone with light reflection (youthfulness).
People are often concerned that Sculptra® may make them look like they have a fat face. This is why the expertise of Sculptra® injection is so important. Remember with proper placement, we are restoring “volume” to the areas where fat was in our faces at a younger age.
The volume replacement fills the skin so that it is lifted; not surgically with a scalpel and sutures, but lifted by the formation of your body’s own collagen that is stimulated by the microscopic particles of Sculptra®. This is an important difference between Sculptra®, a non-surgical “fluid” facelift and a surgical facelift. A facelift will remove excess skin, and to some degree this will lessen the shadow effect, but a facelift will not restore volume. Remember, volume is what makes us look younger. Stretching skin across bone without implants or volume replacement gives an unnatural pulled look.
What is Sculptra® made of?
Sculptra® is made of Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), a synthetic biodegradable polymer that is both resorbable and bio-compatible. PLLA has been widely used for many years as dissolvable sutures so it’s compatibility with the body are proven.
How does Sculptra® work?
Sculptra® is NOT a wrinkle “filler”. It works by stimulating the body to produce new collagen at the sites of injection, thereby replacing lost volume and contours to restore a fuller, more youthful appearance. It is important to realize that Sculptra® does not give immediate results like the true fillers do. Since Sculptra® has to stimulate the body to create new collagen, this process takes time. This formation of new collagen takes several months. Most people need more than one treatment session to accomplish optimum volume. In consultation, Dr. Nunnally will map out exactly where Sculptra® will be placed and how many treatments will be needed to adequately replace volume in your face.
Where is Sculptra® injected?
From the previous discussion, you now understand that our faces don’t really “fall” over time. The fat disappears and/or repositions and our faces basically lose volume and deflate. This volume loss and deflation then causes the descent of our skin. Volume restoration i.e. Sculptra®, re-inflates the sagging skin.
Sculptra® can be used to restore volume to the hollow areas of the temples, cheeks, and chin, as well as, to define the jaw line, and reduce the jowls. Sculptra® is not used in the lips or to fill individual lines, folds, and wrinkles. Lips and individual wrinkles are best treated with other products like Juvederm®, Perlane®, and Restylane.
How is Sculptra® administered?
Each treatment consists of a few injections to the areas to be volumized i.e. temple, cheeks, chin, and jaw line. The product is mixed with lidocaine and the discomfort is minimal.
What are the side effects of Sculptra®?
As with all other injections, there can be temporary swelling and bruising. Otherwise, there is no down time. Other risks include the appearance of small bumps under the skin which can be felt but not seen. This happens uncommonly and they will resolve spontaneously over time.
How long does Sculptra® last?
The lasting effects of Sculptra® vary from patient to patient, however studies have shown that most patients see the benefit for at least 2 years from the first treatment. After the initial series of treatments to obtain the appropriate volume to your face, only 1 treatment will usually be needed to maintain this volume every 12 months.