5 Things You Need to Know About Sculptra

Will-Lee on 4 Aug 2009 at 1:00pm


The big news in facial injectables last week was that Sculptra Aesthetic, manufactured by Sanofi-aventis, was approved by the FDA for aesthetic use in all patients. Until then, Sculptra (sans the "Aesthetic" tag) was largely used only for immune-deficient patients, including those with HIV, who had suffered significant facial fat loss associated with their disease.

Notwithstanding the recent FDA stamp of approval, RealSelf's community has been asking our experts about Sculptra for a while now, and here's a few of the things they've learned:

1. Sculptra can last up to 2 years.

Sculptra works by stimulating collagen production in the skin, and doctors stress that results are gradual. However, after anywhere between 3-5 treatments on a four-to-six-week-frequency basis, the consensus is that the treatment will last about two years

2. Don't get Sculptra injections around the eyes.

So say several experts on RealSelf, who say they won't inject Sculptra around the eyes. Why? As Beverly Hills oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Hoenig puts it, "As a rule, I do not inject Sculptra under the eyes because of its tendency to form bumps. Due to the thin eyelid skin, the bumps may be visible." Others, like Seattle plastic surgeon Dr. Stella Desyatnikova, cite the unpredictability of that facial area and scar formation.

3. Do get it for sagging skin around the jaw.

User Joey94965 asked our experts for their opinion about her sagging jawline, which she uncharitably called "crumpled." Several of our doctor respondents gave Sculptra the thumbs up for her concerns, because they agreed it would help improve the volume in that part of her face.

4. Sculptra is easier — though not always better — than fat transfer.

Our experts agree that unlike fat transfer, an alternative treatment for deep lines and sagging skin, Sculptra doesn't require a surgery to harvest fat and is, clearly, somewhat easier on the patient. But, as Dr. Lenore Sikorski of Orange County puts it, "If you have sensitive skin and alot of allergies, I would veer away from Sculptra and toward fat transfer."

5. Watch out for bumps after Sculptra injections. 

One of the most persistent concerns our community has expressed about Sculptra is the emergence of small bumps — granulomas or nodules — after treatment. Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian of Santa Monica says the surest way to avoid these issues is to avoid areas of thin skin, "conservative treatment," and ask for "lower dilution of injectate."

And one more thing you should know... 

In case you're looking for alternatives to Sculptra, there are several. Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel of UT Southwestern Medical Center says you should consider Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, Prevelle Silk, Radiesse, and Elevess, and adds, "All dermal fillers have unique properties that define how they are best used in the face."