Does Sculptra work? (Photo)

I received sculptra injections (2 viles) one week ago. It looked great the first 24 hours, but one week later there is no change, and maybe even lines where I never had them before. I was told it would take a couple weeks for it to work, but expected this rate I could be in for thousands of dollars and no real change. Would fat transfer have been a better choice? I'm 63 years old.

Doctor Answers 7

Sculptra Treatment

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Sculptra is not a filler, it is Poly-L-Lactic acid scientifically designed to stimulate natural collagen growth. Immediately after Sculptra treatments patients are fuller in the face due to the water that is used to inject Sculptra, this fullness usually dissipates 1-2 weeks after injections. Sculptra is best done is a series of treatments anywhere from 4-6 sessions and collagen will continue to stimulate up to 6 months after injections. I think Sculptra is a very good product that can last up to 2 years with optimal treatment, but it does require time and multiple treatments for best results. It is also possible that you may need different types of fillers to get the improvement you are looking for. Consult with a Board Certified Dermatologist to see what treatment is best for you.

Results of treatment with Sculptra

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Sculptra certainly does work to create volume, but the effects are gradual and typically take 6-8 weeks to be evident.  Sculptra works by stimulating your body's own collagen production, so with age this production becomes somewhat less robust and may require additional vials of Sculptra to stimulate optimally.  

Fat grafting would be a viable alternative, depending on how you value the pros and cons of each.  Fat grafting does offer a more permanent solution, but with the healing and recovery associated with a minor surgical procedure as opposed to a quick in-office procedure.  

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Sculptra treatment results

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Sculptra works well but is a stimulatory agent so it takes multiple treatment sessions to gradually obtain the desired result.  Typically, the face will look immediately better after a Sculptra treatment, but this improvement is temporary and usually will last a week or two at the most.  This initial improvement is just due to the water that is injected which delivers the Sculptra.  The water will absorb and then the Sculptra begins to stimulate the tissue to cause some gradual filling.  It is not unusual that the face may not look significantly different after the first treatment.  You should start to see more improvement after a second or third session.  

Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Sculptra takes at a while to develop

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Sometimes the effect can take as long as 3 months to develop. But over 60 years old you may need a total of 4 or 6 vials for a good effect, not just 2 vials. Usually I give 2 vials at a time separated by about 6 weeks.

Yes, Sculptra Works!

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It is important to understand that Sculptra adds volume incrementally, taking 4-6 weeks to take effect. Noticing facial volume in the initial post-injection period, which then dissipates is completely normal; a complete result is unusual with one treatment session. For a 63 year old patient, several (2-3) treatment sessions is the norm in order to add facial volume.  In fact, when we see patients with facial volume depletion, we explain that Sculptra is not worth doing without committing to several treatments.  Is Sculptra expensive? Relatively speaking, it is.  However, the duration of effect is 2 years plus, which accounts for the expense. How does Sculptra measure up to fat?  My general impression is that the results are more consistent with Sculptra, and generally last about the same amount of time as fat.

Sculptra Works

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Sculptra does work. It is subtle. I typically tell patients to expect 15% improvement in overall appearance with one vial of Sculptra. Also, the younger one is the better the result as the skin can produce collagen faster. 
Fat injection is a good option but I am not a proponent of it. The only other thing I can think of is Juvederm Voluma because it lasts 2 years and what you see is what you get. 
Dr. J

Sculptra and the process of correction

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It can take three treatments spaced one month apart to get the desired effect from Sculptra. Sculptra is injected as a water based material and immediately after the injection much of what you see is water that resolves in a day or two.  The final result of the series of injections will be similar to how you look immediately after.  In your 60's with volume loss that needs to be replaced, I expect you to need two more treatments.  Fat injections are more expensive and require surgical harvesting of your own fat.  Please let me know how your treatments develop.

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.