Write a review

Sculptra Promises To Work Where Hyaluronic Acid Has Fallen Far Short

I'm a 38-year-old healthy male. ...

I'm a 38-year-old healthy male.  Approximately 3 years ago I started noticing fat loss in the periorbital area, making me look tired and drawn.  About 2 years ago I decided to do something about it, and started with hyluronic-acid products: Restylane, then Juvaderm.

My experience with both was unsatisfactory: they were applied so superficially that I'm yet to have had a single hyaluronic-acid treatment that yielded smooth, feathered results and, worse, the stuff lasted barely 4 months before starting to degrade -- a far cry from the "1 year" claimed by some literature.

Then about a month ago I stumbled on a mention of Sculptra, and was intrigued by its method of action: here was an agent that purported to increase collagen production, so that the collagen layer plumped up and made up for the fat layer above that had deflated.  (I think I have that right.)  Reading up on it my concern was the anecdotal and review evidence that seemed to contraindindicate Sculptra for a cosmetic procedure in thin-skinned areas such as the area around the eyes.

Luckily I found a doctor who was versed in using Sculptra, and with whom I felt confident.  I had my first treatment approximately 1 month ago, and I am very happy with the results thus far.  (I will have another treatment shortly since I was recommended 2.)

The procedure itself was straightforward: my face was numbed, then the cheek and periorbital areas treated with several dozen small injections on each side.  Since Sculptra is administered as a dissolved solution the immediate after-effect was to immediately plump up areas treated, and very smoothly, respecting the face's own contours.  I didn't have the "bee stung" look I often had after Restylane, etc was administered.

The thing wih Sculptra seems to be that you have to massage the injection site very frequently to inhibit clump formation.  I did that near-religiously as directed, and attribute that to now being clump- and granule-free.  At least as far as I can tell or feel.

I think the as-big or bigger reason for my results is because the doctor was that good.  It doesn't matter what filler you have put in -- I believe results are determined 90% by the practitioner.

In summary: for me Sculptra as a cosmetic treatment for sinking around the eyes and cheek has worked very well in this first month post-procedure.  I look forward to results getting better and better, and shall post an update in the future.

Good luck!

Update & Addenda about the Sculptra-injection procedure:

Since I'm skittish around needles in my face I opted to have it numbed with Lidocaine before the Sculptra injections themselves.  For my second treatment I also dosed on Hydrocodone before the procedure, so the Lidocaine injections were uncomfortable rather than painful, and the Sculptra injections mostly un-felt.

The downside to pre-Sculptra Lidocaine injections, I'm told, is "extra volume" in a just-finished face.  Fine by me, I'll pick my battles.  (I'm told an alternative is to mix Lidocaine with Sculptra, so a little Lidocaine is delivered with each Sculptra injection.  I opted for the former method because I didn't want to feel even the Sculptra pricks themselves.  And I STILL had a vagal response during the procedure!)

Even so, as I noted before, the additional "volume" immediately post-procedure was not discernible under casual inspection, and since Sculptra is delivered much deeper than Restylate, etc, I didn't have any superficial pinching or welting on the skin -- it was mostly the same face shape, slightly bigger.

I was told that this liquid-induced facial volume would dissipate in 4 days, with the liquid being resorbed, but my experience has been different: overnight, excess volume went down to near-normal, and that continued for the next nearly 10 days.  Sure, my face looked normal well before 4 days, but I did notice further gradual sinking even 3 weeks since, with the periorbital areas the last to go down -- from normal-looking to just below normal.  I have to assume my varying liquid intake (I do badly at keeping hydrated) played a part.

My pre-procedure Hydrocodone dosing helped also in the immediate post-procedure massage.  I got to enjoy the massage without associated discomfort or pain.

2 things I stress, one by experience and one by hearsay: pick a doctor who really knows this stuff (I gather there are just 5 or 6 top ones in the U.S.; I'm lucky to have access to one of them), and be religious in the post-procedure massage regimen -- I'm told this massage really needs to be kept up for up for a good 6 months post-procedure, which is Sculptra's half-life (?), to ensure granule-free results.  For the kind of from-deep-within volumizing I seem to be seeing thus far it's a regimen you'll be glad to maintain!

Dr. Gervais Frechette

I look for 4 factors: doctor's apparent knowledge; doctor's bedside manner; doctor's office logistics, and results delivered. This place excelled on all counts thus far. Please see my detailed review for "Le Docteur" on CitySearch.

Was this review helpful? 25 others found this helpful

Comments (6)

I too was wondering if you could tell me the doc you used? or how you might find a good one?
  • Reply
Could I ask which doctor you used? I'm considering getting this procedure and definately agree with you that it is crucial to choose someone who an expert with this particular product. Thanks!
  • Reply
I am a 55 yo male. I have had 12 vials in 6 different sessions and I am very please with the results. My doctor suggests 4-6 weeks between sessions. I had my six sessions over a six month period. My last one was yesterday. I am told a "touch-up" is appropriate in 18 months from the first session so I will go back in a year. I only used the lidocaine cream. It does get uncomfortable during the procedure and some spots hurt more than others but my doctor would warn me beforehand. To me, the pain is well worth the results. Friends could tell a difference after the second session.
  • Reply
Glad you are so happy with the results, everyone is different when it comes to fillers, it lasts longer on some ppl and not so long as in my case with others. I really did like the Sculptra though, looking @ pictures of myself during that time I was very pleased & I had my cheeks back :-) Good luck & hope you get the 2 years!
  • Reply
JoJo, thanx for the input. I'm definitely curious to see how I progress with Sculptra,and I sure hope results last beyond a year. My second procedure already seems less dramatic than the first one -- perhaps my bar has risen :) Anyway, from what you said I now have even more incentive to be conscientious about massage -- not just to inhibit clump-formation, but also to [possibly?] encourage new collagen formation.
  • Reply
Hi, I am very happy that you are thrilled with your results. I went to a doctor here in NJ that is Chief of Plastic Surgery @ one of the best hospitals here too, has done nurmerous injections of Scultra on many many patients, saw pictures to prove it & he teaches other doc's to use it. He is very heavy handed so even with the numbing cream and lidocane mixed in with the Sculptra it still hurt pretty bad & I am not usally sqimish about needles, ok my results, I was also thrilled during the first 6 months but I started to notice by years end that they were disapating already, short of the 2 years or more the doctor had promised. I was happy with the overall procedure but was not very happy that in about a year & a half that they were gone completley considering I had 3 vials & paid over 3k for them. I just had Juverderm to nasl-folds & upper lip for about 1k in July and the results for that were fine too but at less than 4 months later those results are fading too now....arggg I wish for once that after putting so much money that these products would last as long as they are said too on me...maybe it is just me but in any event I am not to happy at the moment* Good luck to you & I hope you get that 2 year mark as others have with your Sculptra! "-)
  • Reply