Sculptra Aesthetic: What You Should Know
No matter where you live, chances are that you want to take advantage of ways to age as gracefully as possible. Luckily, medical technology has advanced to give us many options. Dermal fillers have become a popular way to minimize the unwanted apparent signs of aging. There are numerous dermal fillers on the market. While many can give adequate results, they are not all the same. One that sets itself apart is Sculptra. Although Sculptra gets bundled in with the rest of the filler it is different in a number of ways.
What is Sculptra Aesthetic?
Sculptra is a reliable FDA-approved product used since 2004 to fill out sunken cheeks, marionette lines, and other undesirable effects of aging. Administered by a licensed doctor or medical professional, it is designed to have a long-lasting impact of two or more years with a softer, more natural look without the over plumped appearance that other products can cause. Sculptra results in a more youthful look when used for problem areas like:
- Filling out sunken cheeks
- Hollowness near the chin
- Hollowing at the temples
- Melolabial and nasolabial folds (lines between nose and mouth)
- Reshaping the jawline
- Softening angular cheeks
Sculptra is made from poly-L-lactic acid or PLLA. It is a biocompatible synthetic that, when injected under the skin, stimulates the production of collagen. While it is very effective in many areas of the face, it is not recommended for use in the thinner skin around the eyes or in the lips.
How Does Sculptra Work?
Collagen is the protein structure that connects built skin and connective tissues. Collagen is abundant in earlier years and provides the taught skin and youthful plumpness to cheeks. Unfortunately, collagen production slows down with age, causing wrinkles, lines, and the gaunt look of sunken cheeks. The skin becomes lax, and gravity takes its toll, pulling it downward. To reverse the aging effects, it takes more collagen production.
What creates the long-term, natural-looking Sculptra results starts as low-level inflammation in the deeper layers of skin that prompts the production of new collagen. Not only does it create volume, but skin texture and thickness are improved. The natural look comes from the body’s own processes that create volume where the natural fat used to be, pulling up the cheeks and removing the marionette lines or nasolabial folds that result from lax skin and lack of subcutaneous fat. With HA fillers, a common method to remove the lines is to inject the dermal filler into the folds to smooth them out, providing a more instant result. Sculptra works with your body to produce volume by building collagen and giving a natural appearance. However, it is not an instant result. Initially, you may see the correction but it is the water that is in the product that later gets absorbed and the results disappear only to reappear 6-8 weeks later when the body has had some time to break down the PLLA and use it as a scaffold to build a collagen network and more volume.
With Sculptra, as the collagen continues to develop, the softer look of youth is revealed.
How is Sculptra Different?
Typical dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, which has a gel-like texture that plumps the skin. The body dissolves it in 6-12 months. May of the lovely women you see on Miami Beach or at Art Basel Miami probably use or have used HA fillers at some point to retain their smooth, fold-free complexions or to plump their lips. However, it can become overdone or unnatural if not applied by a knowledgeable and certified medical professional.
Sculptra works differently by prompting the body to create more collagen. It is not a quick fix, but it becomes more apparent as the collagen production continues to increase. It also lasts much longer, up to two years, than other dermal fillers. Some of the many ways Sculptra Aesthetic differs from hyaluronic acid fillers include:
- Sculptra is not a filler – It is a bio activator. That means that it prompts the natural biological processes beneath the skin that create the collagen that is the building block of tissues. While the gel of fillers provides an instant fullness, Sculptra doesn’t work that way. You may see some plumpness initially, but it is only temporary. Sculptra’s real value is that it signals your body to rebuild the inner structure and volume that you had naturally in your youth. That takes a little while.
- Experienced professionals should only administer Sculptra – Sculptra arrives at the medical office in powder form. It requires precision, attention to detail, and experience to prepare it in time to administer it. It must be diluted appropriately at least 24 hours before using it. But that is only the beginning. The administrator needs to understand where and how to inject it subcutaneously to achieve the desired results that replicate natural fat pads. Thoroughly vetting your provider’s certifications, experience, and prior results with other patients can help avoid complications resulting from trusting an inexperienced provider.
- Patients should understand not only the process but the potential effects – We educate our patients in Tampa and Miami on the differences in HA fillers and Sculptra. If they are looking for a quick fix for an upcoming event, Sculptra is probably not the right choice for them at that time. Sculptra takes multiple treatments over time, which may vary according to the age of the patient. They must commit to a specific aftercare regimen that involves massaging the area of treatment for five minutes, five times per day for each of the five days following the treatment. If this process is not followed precisely, nodules or granulomas could form.
How Much Does Sculptra Cost?
The average cost is approximately $1,925, but that could vary according to the number of treatments, the areas being treated, and the experience level of the provider. At Arviv Medical Aesthetics, we believe in full transparency of our pricing. We charge $800 per each Sculptra vial, so the total price would depend upon your needs and desired outcomes.
What are the pros and cons of Sculptra Aesthetic?
While there are advantages and disadvantages to any treatment – many patients have found that the pros far outweigh any potential cons, particularly when compared to the Sculptra before and after photos.
- Lasts up to two to three years as opposed to six to 8 months for other fillers
- Results are more natural as they develop over time from natural biological processes
- Minimal downtime
- Is much easier and more minimally invasive that fat transfer
- Can be used effectively for sagging skin
- May cause allergic reactions in people with very sensitive skin or multiple existing allergies
- Results cannot be undone, but you must wait for them to fade over time
- The upfront cost is higher than HA fillers
- Requires patience since results develop over time
- Creates nodules if applied under thin skin or if aftercare instructions are not followed
If you would like to find out more about Sculptra or other treatments that may be right for your issues or goals, contact us at Arviv Medical Aesthetics for a consultation today. Our experienced staff in both our Tampa and Miami offices can answer your questions.
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Hedgehog94