Over time, our skin loses collagen and fat, reducing its full, firm, youthful appearance. It becomes more loose and starts to wrinkle. This reduction in skin volume can make cheeks appear sunken and form jowls. This can make us look older than we are. Injectable Sculptra™ can help regain a firm texture by restoring facial volume.

Sculptra™ is particularly suited to treating the lower face, where it differs from conventional line fillers, in that it is more of a lifting, volumising treatment. Without surgery, we can reduce sagging skin and wrinkles by restoring facial contours.

Sculptra™ is Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) it is a synthetic and biodegradable material, which has been used in other areas of medicine e.g. dissolving sutures for 25 years. It can be useful in the treatment of skin folds, under eye circles, and scars and jowls.

How long will it last?

Sculptra™ is long-lasting. It causes collagen to be laid down in the deeper layers of the skin, over many months. It is necessary to undergo two or three treatments with a gap of 6 weeks between each. The results can last for 2 years. The effects are not immediate but it can first be noticeable after approximately 6 weeks, at which point another treatment is timed to build on the effect.

The downside?

It is rather a slow treatment, which escalates subtly in effect.
Small aggregations of collagen can occur along the jawline- sometimes palpable through the skin but not visible from the outside

What can go wrong?

When I first investigated this treatment, over thirteen years ago, I rejected it due to a few reports of visible lump formation and allergic granuloma. Since then, newer methods of preparation have meant many less such problems have been reported. Most recently, a new technique with an even greater dilution and the use of an injection cannula: the “Canusculpt” method reports no lump formation, as yet and reduced bruising in a series of 250 cases.

However, this possible delayed granuloma side effect remains a possibility. This is a delayed allergic type reaction.

Overcorrection, that is, adding too much volume to the face, is also possible, but regular review and experience minimises this chance.

Conditions that will mean you cannot undergo this procedure:

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • the use of anticoagulant drugs
  • bleeding disorders and some heart problems
  • skin disease at the treatment site
  • allergy to any part of the material including mannitol
  • the formation of keloid scars

Price of treatment

£400 per vial.

As a guide, most patients will require a vial for each decade over 40. So, a patient of 45 may require 4 vials, whilst a person aged 60 will need 6 vials of Sculptra.

My opinion

Sculptra is a treatment that waxes and wanes in popularity, sometimes depending on the drug company that currently owns it. Non the less, it remains a very useful treatment, which in my opinion that rivals the best threadlifting for results. The use of cannulae for injection have revolutionised what used to be a procedure with some bruising downtime. It also takes patience and a bit of a leap of faith on the behalf of the patient to wait for the results, but the effects throughout the skin layers are worth it. It suits thinner faces, with lower facial hollowing best. Over the years, I have had one case of a bit too much collagen formation, and another of none at all. I haven’t had any cases of allergy, but if you prefer a filler that can be dissolved- then plump for the hyaluronic acid fillers.

Treatment Clinics in Brighton, Hove and Mid Sussex. 01273 691424 or 07809 415211