Sculptra is a semi-permanent soft tissue filler made of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and is manufactured by Sanofi Aventis. Poly-L-lactic acid is a non-toxic, bioresorbable synthetic polymer that has been used widely in the pharmaceutical industry for many years, especially for medical supplies like bone plates, screws, and sutures. A single vial of Sculptra contains a freeze-dried powder that is composed of 150mg of poly-L-lactic acid, 90mg of sodium carboxymethylcellulose, and 127.5mg of mannitol. This powder must be reconstituted with 5mL of sterile water before administering the solution into the affected sites. Each box comes with two vials of the powdered solution and a product leaflet. Needles and sterile water for reconstitution must be obtained separately. Please store this filler in a clean room at 30ºC, and away from freezing conditions. Once reconstituted, the solution can only be kept up to 72 hours and must be stored at a temperature between 5ºC to 30ºC.
Unlike other dermal fillers, Sculptra is famed for its gradual volumising effect on depressions in the skin, such as severe wrinkles. Additionally, this soft tissue implant is great for targeting large areas that are in need of volume restoration.
The skin obtains its distinct elasticity and firmness from a vital protein called collagen. Collagen is a structural protein that is present in many components of the body, including the skin and other connective tissues. When the skin is young and healthy, collagen production and functionality is at its peak. But as time progresses, the ageing process sets in and impedes the synthesis of collagen. Other factors like chronic sun exposure and smoking introduce destructive free radicals, which aggravate the weakened skin structure. With the combination of habitual expressions and lack of skincare, skin depressions become extremely severe and noticeable.
Sculptra works not only as a volumising implant, but it also helps to stimulate the body’s production of collagen through neocollagenesis. The microparticles of poly-L-lactic acid that are present in the filler help to revive the collagen factory, otherwise known as fibroblasts, to generate more collagen. As a result, sunken areas and wrinkles get filled in gradually and subtly. Patients can enjoy a plumper and more resplendent visage without looking overcorrected.
Sculptra injections are considered a medical procedure and should only be conducted by licensed physicians specialising in aesthetic treatments. Furthermore, stringent aseptic standards are necessary when performing treatment, so as to reduce the risk of infections and cross-contamination. Since the filler comes in the form of a powder, it must first be reconstituted with 5mL of sterile water. The resulting suspension is sterile and non-pyrogenic. Just before the treatment session, clean the proposed treatment areas and apply pain-relieving agents if necessary. Assemble the medical device by securing a 26G needle to the syringe. Inject the filler slowly into the deep dermis. Once the areas have been corrected adequately, massage the skin to distribute the filler evenly. Patients can apply a cold compress to effectively reduce swelling. Discard any remaining reconstituted solution.
Since it works as a collagen stimulator, improvements from Sculptra treatment are observed gradually. A full procedure usually consists of 2 to 3 injection sessions, though this will depend on the severity of the correction and the condition of the skin. These sessions should be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to maximize collagen synthesis. Patients will notice improvements that can last up to 2 years. Since this is a semi-permanent bioresorbable filler, it will undergo biodegradation and be absorbed by surrounding cells over time. The duration of results varies across patients depending on their age, skin condition, and lifestyle.
Yes, Sculptra is a very safe dermal filler. Its active ingredient, PLLA, has been used as suture material for years due to its nontoxic nature. However, patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should refrain from receiving treatment with this filler. The same applies to pediatric patients as well as those with a tendency to develop hypertrophic scarring.
Juvederm Voluma is a dermal filler that is frequently compared to Sculptra. Both of these soft tissue implants deliver long-lasting volumising effects on sunken areas, but that is where the similarities end. The main difference between these 2 popular products is the filler material itself. Juvederm Voluma is made of cross-linked hyaluronic acid, which can provide instantaneous results once injected. Additionally, the hyaluronic acid exists in the form of a highly malleable gel that can be injected easily without any reconstitution. However, Voluma only lasts for up to 18 months, much shorter than the average 24 months of Sculptra.
Patients might experience some inflammatory reactions at the injection site.
These side effects are very mild in nature and should abate within a few days. On rare occasions, some patients may experience more serious reactions such as:
Sculptra is a semi-permanent soft tissue filler that contains poly-L-lactic acid as an active ingredient. The solution also contains sodium carboxymethylcellulose and mannitol, and comes as a free-dried powder that must be reconstituted aseptically with 5mL of sterile water.