How Will Having Sculptra Injections in the Checks Change the Shape of ones Face over Time?

How gradual will the growth of collagen be after sculptra? When will the effect be at its peak?

Doctor Answers 10

Sculptra Acts Similar to the Anchoring Ligaments in the Cheeks

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When you were younger, the tissues over the cheek bone were anchored to the bone by tight retaining ligaments. You noticed this when you removed your make up and did not need to support the skin or get much drag on the skin's surface. With age, the skin, underlying fat and bone all lose some structure. The weakening of cheek retaining ligaments allows the cheek tissues to descend.

One effect of Sculptra that I like is that the new collagen formation with Sculptra mimics the structural retaining ligaments in the cheek area, as well as restoring lost volume. That is why patients see a more dramatic rejuvenation effect with Sculptra than with other fillers.

I generally see the effect in the cheeks a month after the third treatment vial (one vial to just the cheek region every month for three months).

Sculptra builds up collagen in your cheeks

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As we age, we lose volume in the face.  The cheek area is considered the mid-face.  As you inject Sculptra you gradually build up collagen in the mid-face.  What Sculptra does is gradually make you look younger by having your own body produce collagen in these areas.  Sculptra produces a gradual effect and the end result should be to restore lost volume and look rejuvenated but not artificial.

Sculptra injections to change the shape of your face...

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Sculptra is not an overnight miracle, but it can give great results over time.  Sculptra works gradually to replace collagen that is lost during the aging process, and over a series of treatments during a few months, the result can last up to two years.  The number of injections per session can vary from person to person but it averages three.  Usually the peak effect is at about six months.  After your initial session, you may need a touch up every couple of years, but you shouldn't need the same amount as in the beginning.  Be sure you find a physician experienced in injecting Sculptra.


Sculptra effects

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Sculptra improves the appearance of the aging face by causing the patient's skin to make new collagen.  This not only adds volume to areas such as the cheeks, temples and under eyes areas, but can result in a lift in the skin especially in the jowl and nasolabial folds.

New collagen begins growing immediately, but it will take time to start seeing the results.  Typically, patients will start to see results 4-5 months after their last injections, thus it may take 7-8 months to a year for a patient to have noticeable improvement.  One of the beauties of treatment with Sculptra is that when you reach your desired end result the effects are long-lasting, up to 2 years. 

Lori Stetler, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon

Sculptra effect on the face

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Typically if you undergo Sculptra you will not be over treated- in other words, too many vials. If too many vials are used , then a change may result that you may not be happy with. Cautious and a planned out approach with the correct amount of filler will give natural excellent results.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

Sculptra long term effects

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Sculptra is used to replace fullness that has been lost from aging. The Sculptra will incite new growth in the area but the body's own system is programmed to continue the aging process. For that reason, the material created by the Sculptra will dissolve in time and not leave any permanent effects. Peak effect is seen at 4-6 months after the injection.

How soon to expect noticeable changes after Sculptra?

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Sculptra works different than the more commonly used facial fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm.  It depends on the body to create a minor reaction against its particles.  Most people develop this reaction to the point where it can be seen over the course of 2-4 months, but this is a very gradual transition.  There may be some patients who do not mount a response to the product and thus they would be disappointed.  In my experience I can not predict this, although I have only seen it on one occasion.  For this reason it is important for you and your doctor to take photographs to document this change. 

To answer your second question, most physicians believe the product effect lasts about two years, but there is a great deal of variability (longer and shorter).  I usually recommend a touch up treatment every few years.

Yoash R. Enzer, MD

Yoash R. Enzer, MD, FACS
Providence Oculoplastic Surgeon

Sculptra Fort Lauderdale

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Injection response depends upon the region of injection & location the product is placed with respect to the underlying bony skeleton. The use of this product by utilizing techniques beyond simple correction of the melolabial fold have evolved. I recommend injection sessions separated by six weeks for three total sessions to create a natural, gradual, global rejuvenation.

Will Richardson, MD
Fort Lauderdale Dermatologic Surgeon

Using Sculptra to change the shape of your face

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The older concept that “tighter is better” has been replaced by recognizing the importance of volume distribution as a defining characteristic of a more youthful face. Restoration of volume in the upper face can lessen or reverse the bottom-heavy, deflated appearance of the aging face. Wrinkle lines or folds are really just the first obvious visible signs of a slow progressive change taking place in all structures of the face. Sculptra is not injected directly into these wrinkle lines and folds, but rather into multiple areas of the face to treat the volume loss that leads to their appearance. This leads to the subtle and natural-looking results that are so often desired. Patients don’t want to look “done” but also don’t want to look “tired”. Seemingly small changes in shape, proportions, balance, and symmetry can have a surprisingly large effect on our perception of the aging face.


Sculptra stimulation of collagen depends on several variables

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How much change you may get after the injection of Sculptra depends on several variables:

  • The amount of Sculptra you are given and if the plan is for multiple injections or a single injection technique
  • The type of face you have.  Lean faces will need more and take longer and/or more sessions to get a pretty effect
  • You general health and level of exercise.  Patients who have depleted their facial fat (i.e. runners) seem to need more material and take longer to respond
  • Patients who loose weight after their injections may seem to get a small or no response because the normal fat continues to be depleted in their face and therefore the response may not be adequate.

However - every thing else being equal, patients will see some response by 8 weeks and a good response by twelve.

Dr. Mayl

Fort Lauderdale

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale 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.