Steve Fallek (Plastic Surgeon and Medical Director, Face Focus Medical Spa) gives expert video advice on: How long will the results from a Sculptra treatment last?; What are the risks of Sculptra?; How much will a Sculptra treatment cost? and more...
What is "Sculptra"?
Sculptra is a filler that was initially developed and used in patients who had facial atrophy or loss of facial volume due to the HIV virus. Sculptra is made of lactic acid which is part of the normal body structure and more recently, Sculptra has become available for general cosmetic use.
How does Sculptra differ from other dermal fillers?
Sculptra is made of lactic acid as opposed to the hyaluronic acid, which, both are natural-occurring substances, but Sculptra is to be used at a deeper layer than the other dermal fillers. What's the advantage of that? By reconstituting or remaking the sculpture by adding fluid to it, Sculptra will give more volume to the face. So where a dermal filler will fill up wrinkles, Sculptra is really something used to augment the cheek, or really fill up substantially more areas of tissue.
Who can administer Sculptra?
If Sculptra is offered at your medispa, it really needs to be performed by the physician, not by a physician's assistant and not by the aesthetician. It requires reconstituting or adding volume to the vial in an appropriate manner and injecting appropriately. It's a deeper injection than some of the other dermal fillers, so you really want to make sure that it's done properly. My recommendation would be that the physician is the person doing the injections.
Who can get a Sculptra treatment?
Sculptra treatments were initially FDA-approved for patients that had facial wasting or lack of facial volume from the HIV virus; and it worked very effectively in that community. Subsequently it's been brought into the cosmetic community for facial augmentation. What does that mean? Adding volume to the face, specifically in the cheek area and in the face area. So any patient that is lacking volume, that has gotten older, has some wrinkles, wants a little more "ummph" in the cheeks; I think that Sculptra is a nice alternative to the other fillers and it can add more volume than the other dermal fillers.
Who should not receive Sculptra treatment?
What's interesting about Sculptra is that the HIV population that takes numerous medications has had no issue with taking Sculptra. There's really almost no patient who won't benefit from Sculptra if there are looking for facial augmentation, facial volume. Obviously, if patients are taking blood thinners, anticoagulants or aspirin they should check with their doctor in terms of going off of those medications before having Sculptra treatment.
Can I receive other cosmetic fillers after getting a Sculptra injection?
Because Sculptra works at a deeper layer than the other dermal fillers, it is a nice complement to some of those treatments. So yes, you can get Sculptra along with any of the other dermal treatments, and I think sculptra is really good for patients that are looking for facial volume, which the other fillers don't necessarily offer.
Can I use Sculptra in place of a nose job?
There have been reports in the mainstream media and there are certain cosmetic surgeons that are using Sculptra and radius and other longer lasting fillers around the nose area to replace either cartilage defects after a nose job or rhinoplasty or to augment or fill this area here. That's one of the newer areas that doctors are using some of the longer lasting fillers. It won't necessarily replace a nose job but it can take care of small areas of deficit.
How long will the results from a Sculptra treatment last?
Sculptra has been reported to last up to two years between treatments. So, that is a significant amount of time compared to some of the other dermal fillers. Yet, you do need to remember it works in a different manner in working at a deeper layer so there is a chance that it can, even though it's supposed to last two years, some of those areas may lose volume a bit earlier.
What should I be aware of after a Sculptra treatment?
There's really no side effects, no complications in terms of using Sculptra. You're going to follow up Sculptra treatment with your doctor in about 10 days, two weeks. And the number one concern with sculptra would be asymmetry or more volume on one side of the face than the other, and your doctor can address those areas. But otherwise, no significant complications with sculptra. Obviously there can be some bruising and some swelling, but that usually resolves rather quickly.
What are the risks of Sculptra?
The risks of Sculptra include similar to other injections, bleeding, bruising. The more significant complication, because your using a bigger volume can be asymmetry, or meaning that one cheek looks a little different than the other cheek. In general, its safe, effective, and because its made of your own bodies material, there should be no reaction to it.
How much will a Sculptra treatment cost?
Sculptra is very interesting with regards to cost because it can cost anywhere up to $3,000. Now, because it started with the HIV population, there are some medical plans and health insurance companies that will cover Sculptra treatments, but that is primarily for the HIV population. In terms of a cosmetic treatment, it's unlikely that your medical insurance will cover the treatment, and again it can cost up to $3,000.