Approx 3 years ago my beautician (who has a long-standing background in cosmetic nursing) recommended Sculptra as an alternative to surgery. She'd been doing my botox and fillers for quite a while so I trusted her and went ahead with it. My only negative at this point was that the whole process felt rushed. Anyhow, I did all the follow up massage as required and after a couple of months the results looked really good so I was pleased.... until... 15 months after the sculptra I noticed a swelling on my temple which started to grow rapidly. I went to see my GP and had all sorts of tests for possible eye problems. I also had a further botox session with my beautician and mentioned the lump ... she just said, 'how strange, you must have knocked your head (I think I would have remembered this)... it certainly wouldn't have anything to do with Botox or Sculptra'.
My GP then sent me for an ultrasound and MRI scan and I was told that I had a tumour in my temple which could potentially be cancerous. I had a horrendous two weeks going through various tests and was incredibly stressed and tearful as nobody could really tell me what it was. Eventually one of the Oncology Doctors said that the head is too specialist and that I needed a Maxiofacial Surgeon who also specialises in Oncology. I am covered by Private Health Insurance and managed to find one who could see me quite quickly. After a couple of needle aspirations and further scans he said he didn't think the tumour was cancerous but that it was definately growing (it was like an egg at this point) and needed to come out as soon as possible. I was subsequently scheduled for surgery and was told that the risks included a paralysed eye and brow which could last for a year and defomity of the temple as they would have to take out a large 'cuff' of tissue around the lump (more distress and stress!). Anyhow, he was a brilliant surgeon and removed the lump with no damage to the nerves. I have however been left with the deepest sunken temple (like a skull) which will need fat grafting to fill out again.
At this point I had still made no connection with Sculptra and it wasn't until the tumour had been tested and the pathology report came back that the connection was made. I was absolutely horrified and sickened to find out that apparently the sculptra product had been injected too deeply and at the wrong strength and the result was massive inflamation of the cells (which were full of foreign product) which had hardened and formed a tumour which was continuing to grow and which could have become cancerous over a longer period had I not got it seen to straight away.
The surgeon also said I needed to carefully watch for other lumps as it could happen in a different part of my face (more stress - I could be a tumour timebomb) When I first had the Sculptra, there had never been any discussion of this being a risk when I first discussed it with my beautician. She said the only risk was some short term swelling after the procedure and possibly some small and invisible granular lumps if I didn't massage correctly, and that these would only be temporary. As soon as I was well enough I contacted my beautician to talk to her about what had happened but she was immediately very defensive and demanded to see the pathology report as proof. She didn't even ask how I was was or show any compassion for what I had been through in the last few weeks. I was so disgusted with her self-interested response and lack of responsibility for what had happened that I did wonder about whether to formulate a claim or complaint against her but no-one knew I had had the Sculptra treatment and to this day my family went through all that stress and I would feel so embarrassed and ashamed that ultimately I caused that for them through having the Sculptra treatment (i.e. vanity). They still think it was just an unexplained tumour.
I have since seen a fair few horror stories about Sculptra and would most definitely caution people to think very carefully about using it. As I said earlier, I was very happy with the results for the first year but they certainly were not worth the ultimate outcome of a tumour, major operation, scarring and distorted temple and all the distress that went with not knowing what the tumour was. Also the fact that further tumours may develop (although there have been no further lumps to date so fingers crossed that all the Sculptra has finally dissolved). My advice - avoid at all costs!