The Long-Lasting Remedy for Deep Facial Wrinkles and Hollow Areas
A new volume enhancer for facial augmentation, Sculptra Aesthetic, has received FDA approval and has long-lasting results. Sculptra Aesthetic is a synthetic biodegradable simple lactic acid-based sugar that is injected into the face or backs of hands to increase the fullness and thickness of the skin by stimulating new collagen production. This compound has been widely used in dissolvable sutures for more than forty years and does not require skin testing.
Dr. Binstock was one of the first physicians selected in Northern California to use Sculptra. He has had the rare privilege of being personally instructed by Danny Vlegaar M.D. of Geneva Switzerland, who is the premier European physician using Sculptra, and who perfected the cosmetic use of Sculptra for facial enhancement.
Sculptra was first approved in Europe, where it was known as NewFill™, twelve years ago to repair the signs of aging and has been safely used in more than 150,000 patients in thirty countries. Sculptra was originally FDA-approved five years ago to “restore and/or correct facial fat loss” and hollowness that occurs in the faces of HIV patients. Recently, Sculptra Aesthetic was FDA-approved to reverse facial volume contour loss as a consequence of normal aging, and to fill in lines and wrinkles. Many have already noticed a significant improvement in their quality of life with the rejuvenation benefits achieved by Sculptra, as it has been used “off label” for years prior to its FDA approval for correction of volume loss in the face and backs of the hands associated with aging.
Unlike temporary dermal fillers such as collagen and hyaluronic acid (Restylane® and Juvederm®), Sculptra Aesthetic stimulates your skin’s own fibroblasts to actually generate new collagen.
The areas to be treated are numbed with a topical anesthetic cream prior to treatment. Contour and volume loss in the cheeks, temples, chin, glabella, and eye areas are restored gradually over a few weeks to months as the body forms new collagen. Several treatment sessions are usually required to achieve the desired effect, which occurs gradually and lasts up to two years or longer. Sculptra Aesthetic can produce a remarkable non-surgical facial lift, providing sufficient Sculptra is used.
Side effects include short-term bruising, redness, soreness, and slight swelling. Long-term side effects include small deposits that can be occasionally felt by touching, but are rarely visible. Unlike other absorbable dermal fillers, the benefits of Sculptra Aesthetic volume enhancement are long lasting.
What is Sculptra Aesthetic?
Sculptra Aesthetic is a safe, synthetic, and biocompatible volume enhancer that is injected below the surface of the skin. It’s made up of microparticles of poly-L-lactic acid, a biodegradable simple sugar that has been widely used for many years in dissolvable stitches, soft tissue, and other types of implants.
The benefits of Scultpra Aesthetic are not immediate. At your first treatment visit, it may appear that Sculptra worked immediately because of swelling from the injections and the water used to dilute Sculptra. A few days following the treatment, when the swelling goes down and the water is absorbed by your body, you may look as you did before your treatment. Sculptra volume enhancer takes time to gradually correct the depressions in your skin by stimulating and regenerating your own collagen using your fibroblasts to produce new collagen. We will decide on the appropriate number of treatment sessions and the amount of Sculptra Aesthetic you will need at each session. Anywhere from three to six treatments will be required, depending on the amount of skin depression that is to be corrected. These treatments will usually be approximately four weeks apart.
How long will the treatment effects last?
Treatment effects will differ for each person. In a clinical study, the treatment results lasted for up to 2 years after the first treatment session in most patients. Touch-up treatments may be needed to maintain the desired effect.
Do injections of Sculptra Aesthetic hurt?
As with any injection, Sculptra may hurt. Sculptra is injected in small amounts using a very fine needle. We may apply a topical or local anesthetic.
What are potential side effects of Sculptra?
The most common side effects of Sculptra include: delayed appearance of small bumps under the skin in the treated area, bleeding, tenderness or discomfort, and redness, bruising, or swelling that may occur at the site of injection. These side effects usually last at most a few days but in rare cases may last up to fourteen days.
One possible delayed side effect with Sculptra can be small bumps under the skin in the treated areas. These small bumps may not be visible and you may notice them only when you press on the treated skin. These bumps tend to happen within the first six to twelve months after the first treatment. Occasionally, these bumps go away on their own. Visible bumps, sometimes with redness or color change to the treated area, have rarely been reported. As with all procedures that involve an injection of a filler material through the skin, there is a risk of infection, ulceration, and scarring.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science, and therefore, results cannot be guaranteed. The benefits of Sculptra injections may not be as much as hoped for, or may not last as long or as well as expected.
Are there reasons I should not have this treatment?
People receiving Sculptra should not be pregnant, nursing an infant, or have a history of a bleeding disorder, abnormal scarring, or an autoimmune disease. Individuals should also not be taking immunosuppressants or blood thinners. Dr. Binstock should be informed of a history of oral herpes simplex (cold sores).
What are the alternatives to this treatment?
Alternatives include dermal filler substances (such as Restylane® or Radiesse®); chemical peeling; laser resurfacing; and face lifting, browlifting, and necklifting. Treatments with Retin-A or Renova® or alpha-hydroxy acids may also produce some softening of finer surface wrinkles.
- Ice packs may be used during the first twenty-four hours—ten minutes on, ten minutes off. Wrap the ice in a towel and avoid direct contact of ice with the skin
- Massage the injected site vigorously five times daily for five minutes, using a moisturizer, the first five days
- Elevate your head with two pillows while sleeping during the first few days to minimize swelling
- Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatories (i.e., Motrin®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, etc.), and alcohol for the first few days after treatment as they may increase your bruising; Tylenol® may be used for pain control
- Exaggerated movements of the areas augmented should be avoided for the first several days
- Avoid hot foods or gum chewing for the first several hours as mouth injury may occur in the anesthetized areas
- Avoid excessive sun and UV lamp exposure until any initial swelling, bruising, and/or redness has resolved
- Most patients feel comfortable returning to their normal activities following treatment
- Make-up may be applied a few hours after treatment
- Notify us if significant swelling, bleeding, eye pain, vision loss, dusky skin discoloration, excessive pain, or fever occurs
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