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What is Sculptra?

Sculptra is an injectable filler treatment from Galderma Aesthetics that is notably NOT made from hyaluronic acid (HA). Instead, it is made of injectable PLLA, or Poly-L-lactic acid. Sculptra is FDA-approved for the correction of shallow to deep nasolabial fold contour deficiencies and other facial wrinkles. PLLA acts as a biostimulant, leading to collagen growth in injected areas. This differs from traditional HA-based fillers, wherein the filler material itself is what volumizes or creates contour changes.

Related: What is Filler?

What does Sculptra do?

Sculptra can be thought of as the “foundation” when building a house – it is appropriate for specific areas that need large amounts of volume to correct. For example, this can be the temples and pre-auricular areas in the face. In the body, Sculptra can be used to add volume to the hips/buttocks at the “hip dips” for a change in the silhouette of the body. When used to correct age-related volume loss in the face, it is recommended to start with a minimum of “your age divided by ten” vials. Clients in their 40s should begin with 4 vials, patients in their 50s should begin with 5 vials, etc. Treating the body necessitates more vials. The number of vials will of course vary depending on natural anatomy, areas being injected, as well as patient expectations.

Before and after images of a woman's face of treatment with Sculptra - before, 15 weeks after 1st treatment, and 27 weeks after treatment


Before and After Sculptra treatment images of a woman's face at a 45 degree angle facing left showing marked improvement in cheek hollowness and facial volume after treatment

When should I expect results?

Because Sculptra is not an HA-based filler, final results are not immediately visible. Injected areas will often look more volumized immediately post-injection, but this is due to added lidocaine and the sterile water the PLLA material is reconstituted with in order to be injectable. Results will only be apparent days to weeks to months after injection with regular and repeated massage of treated areas. Sculptra stimulates collagen growth, which takes time to occur. On the other hand, results last up to 2 years and patients have reported results lasting beyond 2 years.

When to choose Sculptra or HA filler?

Sculptra is useful for larger areas that need volumizing. While HA filler can also used to volumize, it can be cost prohibitive to use HA fillers to volumize large areas because HA fillers generally come in 1.0 mL syringes. Sculptra also tends to be longer-lasting than traditional HA fillers since it stimulates collagen growth. However, Sculptra is generally intended for deep injection, so HA fillers may be more appropriate for areas that require superficial injection. HA filler can also be used in areas of high movement, such as the lips, backs of the hands, nasolabial folds, tear troughs, and more. HA fillers can be reversed with hyaluronidase, an enzyme that dissolves HA, while Sculptra cannot be dissolved. Sculptra and HA filler treatments augment each others’ results so they are not mutually exclusive. In order to be sure, schedule a consultation at DSC to see which treatment best suits your needs!

What to expect after treatment with Sculptra?

For best results, areas injected with Sculptra must be massaged for a minimum of 5 days after treatment – 5x  each day, for 5 minutes each time. This ensures even and smooth activation of the PLLA’s collagen-stimulating benefits. If treated with multiple vials, regular course of treatment every 4-6 weeks will also ensure best results. Multiple vials can be injected in one treatment as needed. Injected areas may be tender or sore after treatment; ice packs are recommended to alleviate any discomfort. Results can take weeks to months to be apparent.

DSC Laser & Skin Care Center

889 S. San Gabriel Blvd. San Gabriel, CA 91776