Will Collagen Production Formed After Sculptra Injections Eventually Breakdown?

Will Collagen Production Formed After Sculptra Injections Eventually Breakdown? 

Doctor Answers 6

Collagen breakdown after Sculptra injection

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It is true that the neo collagenesis that occurs as a result of Sculptra injection will eventually succumb to the natural aging process of collagen degradation. Typically this takes place over a 2 year period.

West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

Sculptra and your collagen

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Theoretically, new collagen is your collagen meaning the collagen you grow is yours to keep.  The Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid) is a small particle which stimulates your body's fibroblasts (cells which make collagen) to make new collagen, thus leading to more volume.  However, patients are still aging.  So over time, volume loss may become apparent again.

Kristel D. Polder, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon

Sculptra - new collagen and what happens over time?

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Unfortunately, we all continue to age despite all of the new techniques we have to reduce the signs of aging.  The advantage of Sculptra is that it causes us to make our own collagen which will degrade slowly over time as a part of the natural aging process.  Other fillers, such as hyaluronic acid (Juvederm, Restylane) are broken down more quickly by an enzymatic process in our skin requiring more frequent treatments to maintain the same cosmetic result.

Lori Stetler, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon

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Scupltra- the collagen formed is not permanent

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Sculptra is in a unique class of tissue fillers, called collagen stimulators. As the Sculptra breaks down in the tissues, it stimulates new collagen production, and the collagen is identical to you own. After the age of 30, your body produces enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down the collagen in your tissues which provides structure & support. Although the collagen stimulated by Sculptra adds much needed volume to the face, the same enzymes act on the newly formed collagen.The good news is that Sculptra continue to stimulate collagen for up to 2 years.

My treatment plan begins with subtracting 30 from your present age, and that is how long the enzymes have been  acting on your own collagen. If you are 48, (48-30= 18), then you have 18 years of weakening of your own collagen, which Sculptra can help. After a full correction, I see my patients once a year to maintain their result.

Edward Szachowicz, MD, PhD
Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

The fate of the new collagen from Sculptra injections

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Sculptra is a sugar molecule and is produced through corn dextrose fermentation. After Sculptra injection, an increase in volume due to new collagen formation is gradual, starting 3 months after the injection and achieving a maximum at approximately 5 to 6 months post injection. Sculptra is gradually degraded into water and carbon dioxide over approximately 9 to 24 months. Newly formed collagen remains and the cosmetic augmentation has been noted to last up to at least 24 months. The new collagen that has been stimulated by the Sculptra injections is eventually broken down and absorbed by the same process that causes the degradation of your "normally produced" collagen.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

What happens to the new collagen that Sculptra creates?

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Sculptra works differently than most other dermal fillers.  Instead of the material in the syringe creating the aesthetic improvement, Sculptra induces new collagen production which leads to the volume enhancement.  A very frequent question for patients is; what happens to this new collagen?

The answer is a bit complex.  The body does not 'see' this new collagen as different than the collagen that existed prior to Sculptra treatment. What does change is the balance of repair and degradation.  There is a constant process of creation of new collagen and breakdown of existing collagen occurring daily.  For most people, somewhere in their mid 20's, this balance shifts towards more degradation and they start to see volume loss.  But here's the lousy thing, the more volume loss you have, the more the balance shifts towards degradation.  Think of it like this; once the process heads down hill, it picks up speed. 

The whole process slows when you add a filler.  The added volume shifts this balance back towards the creation of new collagen.  The more volume that is added, the more it slows the degradation process.  Why this is important when we talk about the effects of Sculptra is that the closer you get to full correction of the volume loss, the longer the effects of the Sculptra will last.  So, the effect of two vials of Sculptra will last more than twice as long as the effect of one vial, the effect of four vials will last more than twice as long as two.  As I said, the answer is a bit complex.  The bottom line: for the longest lasting results, it is best to aim for a full correction right from the start.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.