Is Sculptra Safe in Skilled Hands?

I have seen several plastic surgeons.They feel that sculptra is best for me. I have hollowing of my temples & volume loss in cheeks. The drs have both never had any problems w/sculptra. They say that problems only arise when its not administered properly. Could my body have a reaction to it anyway?

Doctor Answers 7

Should you be wary of possible reactions with Sculptra?

How Sculptra works might help you feel more comfortable with choosing it for your volume loss and temple depressions.

Sculptra is delivered to the physician as micro fine powder in a sealed vial. The powder is primarily poly-L-lactic-acid (PLLA),  the same material as dissolvable sutures. The powder is carefully reconstituted with sterile water for injection.

Once the PLLA is injected, your body will respond to its presence by manufacturing new collagen.  This reaction is the desired effect. The new collagen provides the volumizing correction, not the PLLA itself. Because the PLLA eventually breaks down,  once it is gone, your body stops the collagen generation process, but your own collagen remains until it goes through its own natural life cycle.

Sculptra is generally  injected over a series of treatments about 3 to 4 weeks apart. As your body responds with new collagen during that time span, this gives the physician a continued opportunity to place the product in exact locations to provide the desired contours and volume...almost as if you were sculpting by laying down new collagen sheets.

As to potential negative reactions: In some cases patients with thin skin can have small nodules that usually are not seen, but may be felt. This is more common in patients with very thin skin. Provider-caused problems can stem from an incorrect injection technique, incorrect product reconstitution or placement in areas that are better served with hyaluronic gel fillers.

Sculptra should not be used in the lips or areas where there is potential for muscle action to “clump” product, which can result in nodules or papules.

Who should not use Sculptra?

If you have a hypersensitivity to poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), carboxymethylcellulose (USP) or non-pyrogenic mannitol (USP) , it is recommended that you not use Sculptra. Also if you have a tendency toward keloid scarring or hypertrophic scarring, it is not recommended.

Injection technique and experience is important. The Sculptra Aesthetic website provides a listing of physicians with varying levels of product use and levels of training.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Sculptra is safe and gives great results

Any product or procedure is really only as good as the person doing it is always in your best interest to choose your provider wisely.  Sculptra can be great for volumizing the cheeks and temples.  It doesn't provide the instant (or near instant) gratification that some other fillers do but if you are patient with the process and know in advance that you should expect to do 2, 3 or sometimes even 4 procedures and are willing to wait it out, then Sculptra is a great answer. The techniques for reconstituting and injecting Sculptra have changed dramatically since we first started using it...the results are better and the side effects fewer.  


Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Sculptra is safe and effective in skilled hands

Sculptra is a very powerful facial volumizer. There is more bad things written about Sculptra than all other fillers combined. In my experience, the criticism is not justified. I have been using Scuptra in my practice since it was first available in this country and have authored several studies about this material (and no, I have no financial relationship with the company). I have not experienced the complications that are described...but, I understand the fear. It is a difficult material to work with and you should only be injected by a physician with extensive experience.  If done incorrectly, there can be problems, but when injected by a skilled doctor, the results can be natural and long lasting.

Matthew Schulman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 324 reviews

Sculptra is safe but there are risks with all fillers

Sculptra is not a filler but a volumizer. It is a "seed" that is planted and allows your body to mount a response by developing more collagen. Even when done by the most expert hands, there are very rare delayed lumps and bumps that are related to the immune reaction of your skin and subcutaneous tissue. We have learned to dilute the product more than when it was initially introduced into the U.S. and this has helped significantly.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Sculptra safe in skilled hands

Yes, very safe. But the misconception is it is 1 treatment! It on average is 3 to 6 treatment sessions usually 3 to 4 weeks apart to get the full benefit and result. Costs than approach $3K to $4k.


Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Yes it is safe

Sculptra is very safe when injected by a trained expert. No filler is 100% free of potential complications, however. Lumps, asymmetry, discoloration, swelling and bruising are the most common adverse events, but they are usually self-limiting and mild.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Sculptra aesthetic is safe when injected by trained specialists

Sculptra is our best product for long term improvement of cheeks and temporal areas.

We train for the company and are only allowed to train Plastic Surgeons, Facial Plastic Surgeons, and dermatologists. Sculptra will not ship to doctors who have not completed their core training.

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 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.