How Many Treatments of Sculptra Are Needed?

I was told by the doctor who injected me that this product would work with my natural collagen, and when injected, after 3 to 6 weeks it would cause the reaction of 'new collagen' to form! I was also advised that one treatment (2 viles) would do the trick at the cost of $3000, a once in a decade gift I was giving myself, and No Results, or so slight they were only noticed by the doctor who injected. The problem I was told, was that he under-estimated the number of treatments needed. My question finally, is there a way, by looking at a patient, a doctor can accurately tell a potential patient, how many treatments are needed?

Doctor Answers 10

Product selection is critical to success.

In general, Sculptra is best for patients with very thin faces who have little facial fat. It is a very good product to soften the gaunt, tired expression of this type of patient. The results are very gradual and can take up to 6 months to be appreciated. Once achieved, the results last for years. I was on the original advisory board back in 2003 for this product, and have been a trainer for Dermik for years. I can attest to the fact that very few people EVER need only 2 vials. 4-6 is the norm. Injections are spaced 6-12 weeks apart and I do the 6 vials usually over a one year period. It is, therefore, not a procedure for the impatient. Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse might all be better options for more immediate results. By the way, $1500 per vial is a bit steep and not the usual fee, except perhaps in New York City.

New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Determing how many Sculptra sessions and vials are needed

The variables on deciding how much Sculptra a patient needs include a number of factors. It is not always possible to give an exact estimate, but rarely does one treatment session provide the level of results most patients need (or want)

The variables include

  • Patient age - the younger you are, the more collagen making ability your skin still has, so younger patients generally get more results and get them faster than those in their 50's or beyond.
  • Injection location - knowing where to place the product can have a profound impact on how it "behaves" in achieving a specific end goal.
  • Facial symmetry - the more asymmetrical your facial features, the more Sculptra will be required to bring the other side into balance
  • Facial fat content - fat plumps. If you are particularly gaunt, of course more product will be required to restore desirable plumpness
  • Bone loss - as we age, we also lose bone. Again, placement is key to knowing how to replace the volumetric bone loss in a way that looks natural
  • Superficial wrinkles - Sculptra won't remove all your wrinkles. Sometimes extra augmentation with hyaluronic fillers or injectable implant material such as Radiesse will give the most complete improvement
  • Injector experience - Sculptra is not "every doctors" product. It is not injected like typical fillers and if it is, the results will be disappointing. A full facial assessment includes much more than just a quick look.

Younger patients may only need 1 or 2 vials, but it is not uncommon for middle age patients or those with more volume loss or asymmetry to require 3, 4 or up to 6 vials over several sessions for a full correction. But once achieved, it's a wonderfully subtle rebalancing and replumping that has a serious impact on how old and how healthy you look.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

On Average 3-4 Sessions of Sculptra

The great thing about Sculptra is that it's a product that can easily be tailored to the individual.  While number of sessions can vary based on the patient, typically it's anywhere from 2-4 sessions spaced about 1 month apart.  The amount of product used at each session also will vary depending on how large an area you are treating.  For example, the hollow of the eye is typically 1 syringe per eye, but if the entire face is being treated it can be as much as 1-2 vials per session.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Estimating the number of Sculptra treatments

I have been using Sculptra since it was first introduced to this country in 2004 and have publsihed several articles on the subject. In my experience, 1 treatment is never adequate. Most people with mild to moderate facial wasting require 1-2 vials per treatment, and a total of 3 sessions. More severe wasting requires 2 vials per treatment, and a total of 4-6 sessions. This is just a guide because everyone will respond differently. I find that the greatest improvement is seen after the second treatment, even if little improvement was seen after the first treatment.

It sounds like your physician clearly underestimated the number of treatments you would need. I use a lot of this product and love the results it gives. The key to making the patient happy is giving an accurate (or as accurate as possible) estimate about the amount of sculptra needed and the price. You will find that most doctors offer a discount on the second vial.

Matthew Schulman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 326 reviews

Sculptra Vials Needed

Every face will have a different response and different volumetric needs.  Faces with small amount of volume loss may need a vial of sculptra.  More commonly, patients need multiple vials over multiple sessions.  It is better to treat patients over several sessions to gauge their response to Sculptra and gradually improve and fill the face for them.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

Number of Treatments Needed

Sculptra takes 2-3 sessions. You will start seeing results at three months and see full results at five to six months. Sculptra lasts a few years. The number of sessions varies by patient. Usually two to three sessions is needed.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

How many Sculptra sesssions?

The beauty of Sculptra is the fact that it generates your own collagen building and each of us respond differently to that stimulation.  Complete response will take up to 6 months to declare itself, but in most patients we are ready to inject more Sculptra after two months waiting time.  Every subsequent visit becomes  one of balance, ie to make sure that the building of collagen is symmetric and aesthetically pleasing.  The usually number of injection sessions tends to be three, but as patients see that beautiful refilling of the face they will often focus on 'just one more area'.   BTW, the going rate in the Bay Area is $750 per vial.  Those LA prices are ridiculous.

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


Sculptra is a great product that provides long lasting volume.  The amount of Sculptra that is needed is dependent on the amount of fat loss there is.  I recommend you see a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation. 

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Sculptra is best done progressively

We all have our own varying degrees of fat loss, muscle loss and bone loss in the face.

Generally speaking the younger we are, the less volume we have lost, and the less volume we need to re-establish. 

In our 20s and 30s, two to four vials over two  sessions may very well produce  the results desired.  In our 50s and 60s, one might choose to continue to finesse the treatments, one vial at a time., until the ideal endpoint is achieved.  

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Sculptra. How many treatments?

Sculptra is a unique substance.  One injects it, then it "goes away", then it comes back.  The treatments are usually 6 to 12 weeks apart.  A rule of thub is if you are 40, you will most likely need 4 vials.  Now, having said that, everyone is unique.  Our office tends to place 2 vials at the first meeting and then go from there, conservatively, inching up o the result.  It may take months to see the final result. 

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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.