Sculptra is a revolutionary treatment that doesn’t involve surgery and can help you look younger and more refreshed.
Suppose you’re looking for a way to improve or eliminate wrinkles and hollow areas on your face without going under the knife.
In that case, Sculptra might be the solution you’ve been searching for.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Sculptra, including how it works, what results to expect, and why it’s becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages.
What Is Sculptra?
Sculptra is a poly-L-lactic acid dermal filler.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is a synthetic, biocompatible, and biodegradable polymer made from lactic acid, a naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acid found in milk and sugar cane.
PLLA is often used as a dermal filler like Sculptra to treat a wide range of medical and cosmetic conditions.
When injected under the skin, it makes a scaffold that lets the skin’s collagen grow back.
Collagen then gradually and naturally makes wrinkles and hollow spots on the face, such as the cheeks, temples, and chin, look better.
FDA first approved Sculptra in 2004 to treat HIV-related facial fat loss(lipoatrophy).
In 2014, the FDA gave the green light for Sculptra Aesthetic.
A treatment that can help you correct shallow to deep wrinkles, like the nasolabial fold (smile lines), and other facial wrinkles can make you look younger.
So, if you’re looking for a non-surgical way to look younger, keep reading to learn more about Sculptra.
How Much Does Sculptra Cost?
The cost of Sculptra treatment varies depending on several factors, including:
- The treatment area
- Number of vials needed
- Location of the clinic or practice for the treatment
- Special offers and discounts
- Treatment sessions needed
- Specialist fee
On average, Sculptra treatment costs range from $1,500 to $3,500.
However, some providers may charge more or less depending on their location and experience.
Sculptra treatment and other dermal fillers are cosmetic procedures, and health insurance companies do not cover their costs.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the United States made an exception in 2010 for HIV-positive people with facial lipodystrophy syndrome (FLS), which includes lipoatrophy.
The Sculptra treatment is covered by insurance for these people because it is considered a medical necessity for treating FLS and the depression that comes with it.
So, suppose you have FLS and have been experiencing depression due to your condition.
In that case, your insurance may cover the cost of Sculptra treatment.
Consult with a licensed professional and your insurance company to check if you are eligible for this coverage.
Sculptra results are gradual, so you require multiple sessions for the best results.
How Does Sculptra Work?
Sculptra, made of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a synthetic polymer, works by getting the skin to produce more collagen.
PLLA particles act as a scaffold that supports the growth of new collagen, a protein that gives structure to the skin.
Once your specialist injects it into your dermal layer of skin, it slowly and naturally breaks down.
Over time, the body slowly removes the PLLA particles and replaces them with new collagen.
The new collagen gives the skin support and more volume, bringing back its natural shape.
The result is that wrinkles and hollow spots on the face, like the cheeks, temples, and chin, start to look better gradually and naturally.
Procedure for Sculptra Treatment
The procedure for Sculptra treatment begins with a consultation.
A licensed professional, like a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or aesthetic nurse practitioner, will talk to you about how to use Sculptra.
They will look at your skin, discuss your goals and worries, and decide if Sculptra is the best treatment.
Before the treatment, the provider will clean and numb the treatment area.
Then, they will use a tiny needle or cannula to inject Sculptra into the deep dermal layer of the skin.
The procedure usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the size of the treatment area.
The injection site may be slightly red, swollen, or bruised after the treatment.
As Sculptra works to get the body to make more collagen, you can expect the treated areas to improve over time.
Note that this treatment is not a one-time procedure.
The treatment usually needs to be done a few times, about 4 to 6 weeks apart, for best results.
How much a person needs and how many sessions they need will depend on the person.
The effects of Sculptra are not immediate and happen over time, so you need more than one session to get the best results.
You will receive post-treatment care guidance and instructions from your specialist.
It may include avoiding sun exposure and massaging the treatment area to prevent lumps.
Targeted Areas for Sculptra
Sculptra is commonly used to treat facial wrinkles and hollows, such as:
- Nasolabial folds (smile lines or laugh lines)
- Marionette lines (wrinkles that extend from the corners of the mouth to the jawline)
- Chin wrinkles
- Temples (hollow and sunken temples)
- Cheeks (hollow and sunken cheeks)
Sculptra can also make acne scars look better, make the jawline and cheekbones look more defined, and have a better shape.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects?
Sculptra is a safe treatment with few side effects when done by a licensed professional.
Most people get mild redness, swelling, and bruises at the injection site after the procedure.
These side effects usually disappear on their own after a few days.
Other potential side effects include:
- Lumps or nodules: can form if the doctor doesn’t inject Sculptra evenly or if the patient massages the treated area too soon or too hard.
- Infections are uncommon but can happen if you don’t clean the injection site well or if the needle or cannula isn’t clean.
- Allergic reactions: although rare, some people may have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in Sculptra.
- Granulomas are small bumps that can form under the skin after Sculptra treatment. They are usually not harmful, and you can treat them with corticosteroid injections.
- Pigment changes or uneven skin coloration: although rare, some people may experience changes in skin color after Sculptra treatment.
What To Expect After Sculptra
After Sculptra treatment, expect to be able to return to your normal activities right away.
Most of the time, the swelling, bruising, and other side effects are mild and go away in a few days.
Follow the tips below to make your recovery process go as smoothly as possible:
- In the first 24 hours after treatment, put a cold pack on the area for a few minutes.
- Gently massage the treated area for 5 minutes, five times a day, for five days following treatment.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure until any redness and swelling have resolved.
Remember that Sculptra treatments have slow-developing effects, and it may take a few weeks to see the full results.
The effects of your treatment can last up to two years, but this varies depending on the individual case.
It’s best to make follow-up appointments with the licensed professional to look at the results and decide if more treatment is needed.
Are There Other Similar Treatments?
There are several other FDA-approved wrinkle treatments and methods for adding volume to the face, similar to Sculptra.
Some of the most common alternative treatments include:
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers: such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Belotero, are also injected into the skin to add volume and smooth out wrinkles.
- Autologous fat transfer: a procedure in which fat from one area of the body is removed and injected into the face to add volume.
- Calcium hydroxyapatite (Radiesse) filler: is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring substance in the body.
- Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) fillers: it is a synthetic substance used as a filler.
- Bellafill: is an injectable collagen filler with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres.
Before you get Sculptra, talk to a licensed professional who can look at your situation and help you choose the best treatment for your needs and goals.
- FDA (August 3, 2004). Sculptra FDA Approval History. drugs.com/history/sculptra.html
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d). How much do dermal fillers cost? plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers/cost
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (March 23, 2010). Medicare expands coverage for treating facial lipodystrophy syndrome in people living with HIV. cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/medicare-expands-coverage-treating-facial-lipodystrophy-syndrome-people-living-hiv
- Sculptra. (n.d). How much does Sculptra cost? sculptrausa.com/get-started/faq
- What are skin and dermal fillers? (n.d.). healthcare.utah.edu/aesthetics/fillers.php
- Dermal fillers risks and safety. (n.d.). plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers/safety
- Injectable fillers guide. (n.d.). americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/non-surgical/injectable-fillers-guide/