in Bellevue, WA
What is Sculptra?
Sculptra, or Newfill, is one of the newest injectable fillers which works by correcting the signs of lipoatrophy, or fat loss, of the face. It is commonly used for the aging population and patients whose collagen and fat tissue have been damaged or scarred secondary to injury or disease. Sculptra restores volume and re-contours areas such as:
- Sunken cheeks
- Indentations of the temples
- Hollow eyes
- The hands
Sculptra is made of poly-L-lactic-acid, which is a synthetic material that has been used in medical procedures for years. It works by stimulating your own skin in new collagen production causing thickening of the skin. Skin testing is not required before use and it is FDA-approved.
How is Sculptra different from other dermal fillers?
Sculptra isn’t like dermal fillers that instantly add volume. Fillers such as Juvéderm instantly add volume when injected, as their hyaluronic acid in the formulation immediately binds with nearby water molecules.
Sculptra is different. It doesn’t provide immediate results. As described above, Sculptra is made from poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which works within the skin to replace lost collagen. Sculptra is the first facial injectable that gives you subtle results over time as collagen is replaced. This makes for a natural-looking appearance that improves over time, not an instant change as with other fillers. Sculptra is injected in three sessions over three to four months for the best results. These results can then last for two years!
What are the benefits of Sculptra?
Most dermal fillers are injected, and they show instant results. In many cases, this can create unnatural instant plumping of the area. Sculptra doesn’t deliver instant results. Rather than simply filling the injection sites, Sculptra’s poly-L-lactic acid triggers your body to produce its own collagen to correct lines and creases. Those are natural improvements because your body is producing collagen.
This also delivers longer-lasting results. Because your body is creating new collagen, this continues for months as the body slowly absorbs the PLLA. That’s why Sculptra can basically double the duration of its results compared to typical dermal fillers.
Who is an ideal candidate for Sculptra injections?
Sculptra is well-tolerated and has been approved by the FDA. This long-lasting filler is effective for treating fairly deep lines and creases, and it has few restrictions. If you have the typical lines that form around the mouth and from the nose to the mouth, Sculptra is a great, long-lasting solution.
Really, the only patients who cannot have Sculptra are those with a history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring.
The doctor will select numerous injection points to be treated as well as choose the amount of Sculptra to be used for the procedure. Before the injections, the areas of treatment can be numbed with a topical anesthetic cream or local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. The filler is then injected into the deeper layers of the skin. After the procedure patients may be advised to apply ice to minimize swelling and massage the area to help promote distribution.
Sculptra’s results are not immediate. They become evident over the course of a few weeks and may last up to two years. Initially repeat injections about 4-6 weeks apart are necessary for a substantial plumping effect. The injections are then often repeated in future years to maintain the contoured look. Similar facial fillers include Juvederm and Radiesse.
The enhancement of Sculptra is achieved in the comfort of the doctor’s office. Most patients are able to return to normal activities following treatment, and make-up can be applied within a few hours barring any complications.
How long does a Sculptra injection session take?
Dr. Tarbet injects Sculptra into the deep dermal layer, the skin’s second layer beneath the epidermis but above the fat layer. This is different than other dermal fillers that are injected just beneath the targeted line or crease. Although Sculptra is injected somewhat more deeply, these sessions aren’t different than other filler injection sessions. We apply topical numbing cream prior to your Sculptra injections. Each session with Dr. Tarbet takes just 30 minutes. The injections take but a few minutes, but you need to allow time for the numbing cream to take effect.
How many Sculptra sessions will I need?
Most dermal fillers are single-session treatments, but Sculptra is different. Dr. Tarbet injects Sculptra in three different injection sessions over the course of three to four months. We space these sessions out by 4-6 weeks. This allows the PLLA microparticles to keep building collagen production. This is how Sculptra provides such long-lasting volume replacement.
What are the side effects associated with Sculptra?
The most common side effects with Sculptra are similar to those with any dermal filler:
- Slight Bleeding
- Formation of small lumps
All of these issues pass quickly. PLLA is a biocompatible, biodegradable substance that the body accepts; it has been used in dissolvable sutures for decades. Still, if you have numerous allergies, you should check with Dr. Tarbet and she’ll share Sculptra’s ingredient list with you.