Sculptra™—The Liquid Facelift

One of the subtle things that happen to most people as they age is a progressive loss in facial volume due to weakening of the facial muscles, fat loss in the cheek area and reduced firmness of the overlying skin. This can lead to the loss of the natural youthful curves of the face resulting in the ageing appearance of sunken cheeks. Surgeons have used people's own fat—taken from other parts of their body and carefully injected into the face to help restore a smoother more youthful contour. Sculptra™ now provides a new option that, in many situations, is an even better option than fat transfer for those people looking to not only restore facial volume but improve lines and wrinkles in the skin.

What is Sculptra—The Liquid Facelift?

Sculptra is composed of tiny beads of a synthetic material called Poly–L–Lactic acid. Sculptra is not made from human or animal sources and does not require a skin test prior to use. Poly–L–Lactic acid (PLLA) is a biocompatible (does not harm the body), biodegradable (able to be broken down by the body) material that has been widely used for over 25 years in medicine in dissolvable stitches and other surgical products. PLLA is broken down by the body to lactic acid—a natural substance found in the human body.

How does Sculptra work and what can it be used to treat?

Sculptra works in the lower layers of the skin in order to smooth and firm the treated areas of the face. It helps to stimulate the production of collagen gradually creating underlying volume in the treated areas. Sculptracan be used to improve wrinkles and folds, depressed scars, eye rings, and to restore volume to the face to improve facial contour.

How is the treatment carried out?

Each treatment takes around 30 minutes and involves injections of Sculptra using a very fine needle directly into the lower layers of the skin. The number of necessary injections depends on many factors. After the first treatment, our Doctor will recommend whether you need any subsequent treatments and how many these should be. Generally, several treatments may be necessary to obtain the required results. However, in contrast to some other treatments which require frequent refresher sessions, after the end of your Sculptraprogramme the results can last up to 2 years—depending on age, wrinkling and the type of procedure used. Repeat injection schedules vary depending upon the individual and any combinations of other products used. However, treatment schedules usually involve two to four visits spaced a month or so apart.

What results can I expect?

The results from Sculptra are not immediate; Sculptra provides a gradual increase in skin thickness which can take around 6 weeks before clear improvement is observed. In a clinical study, effects lasted for up to 2 years after the first treatment sessions in most people.

Are there any side effects?

The most common side effects include some tenderness at the site of injection, with bleeding (due to the use of a needle), redness, bruising and mild swelling.These effects may last, on average, for 2–6 days. Around 150,000 people have been treated with Sculptra since 1999 and it has been noted that one rare possible delayed side effect with the product can be small bumps under the skin in the treated area. These small bumps may or may not be visible and tend to occur within the first 6 to 12 months after the first treatment. Occasionally these bumps go away on their own.

Who should not have treatment with Sculptra?

Anyone who has a known allergy to Poly–L–Lactic acid and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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