Does Watering Down Sculptra Decrease a Lot of the Risks?

I had a consultation regarding "Sculptra" . I brought up the fact I was scared it could block an artery or go into an artery causing vascular occlusion (heart attack) as stated on the Sculptra website as one of the risks. She said she dilutes it extremely well and asked me if I think this would clog it...please advise.

Doctor Answers 7

Sulptra Dilution

Sculptra is packaged in a sterile vial in powder form.  Prior to injection into the skin the Sculptra crystals are mixed or "diluted" with sterile water and generally a local anesthetic.  When the product was first used in Europe minimal amounts of water were added resulting in a higher incidence of small "bumps" under the skin.  We now dilute the product with more sterile water resulting in a significant decrease in this side effect.

Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Sculptra diultion and side effects

Sculptra is always diluted as it comes as a powder which must have a liquid added. Over time the amount of liquid that doctors choose to add increases. Both sterile water and lidocaine, anesthetic, are added. This mixture is not a solution and some Sculptra can accumulate if not mixed well.  Lumps can form.  Particulate material could theoretically block small arteries but I am not aware of this clinical risk from experience or conversation with colleagues. I avoid the  high risk areas for vascular occlusion to play it safe.

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

Watering Down Sculpta DOES decrease some risks, but not all

Watering Down Sculpta DOES decrease some risks, but not all.  We call it 'diluting'.  

Diluting Sculptra does reduce the risk of lumps and bumps (ie nodule formation), but it is unlikely to reduce the risk of vascular injury.  The mechanism of vascular injury from injectables are related to the needle inserting into a blood vessel.  The risks are quite rare with sculptra.  There is a higher likelihood with hyaluronic acids such as juvederm and restylane.

Always make sure you go to an expert injector to avoid risks.  if you are in the Beverly Hills area feel free to come see me.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Adding water does reduce the risks of complications!

Yes.  Proper dilution of Sculptra drastically reduces its risks.  Naturally, complications can occur with the use of any injectable filler.  Fortunately, such complications occur only rarely.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Minimizing the Risks of Sculptra Injections

Sculptra is supplied in glass vials and should be reconstituted with sterile water at least overnight and preferably one to two days prior to use. Sculptra is a sugar molecule and is produced through corn dextrose fermentation. Proper dilution of Sculptra will help to minimize the risk of nodule formation but will not lessen the risks of any other of the other potential side effects. The use of Sculptra is now restricted by the company to properly trained skin care specialists such as Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons. As every face is different, good injection skills require a good deal of artistry and technique.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

You need the "right dilution" .

Sculptra is shipped as a powder.

When it was initially use in the US it was diluted very little, but as experience has developed, it is diluted more.

However excess dilution does not decrease the complications, but does increase the swelling and chances of bruising because of more injections.

If your injector has been trained by Sculptra, he/she should know the  proper ranges.

Dr. Mayl

Fort Lauderdale

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

Adding More Water Should Help

The reconstitution of Sculptra powder has trended up to more dilute solutions.  The particles of Sculptra seem to dissolve better and spread more evenly in less concentrated solutions.  Your doctor sounds up on it!

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.