Medical Minute: How Does Sculptra Help Reverse Signs of Facial Aging?

May 16, 2017



Today we’re going to talk about what Sculptra is and how it works to improve a person’s appearance. As we age, our faces change in three dimensions. We grow into our faces until our twenties, but as we age our faces start to grow and change in different — and not always flattering — ways.

Two Main Factors That Affect Facial Aging

The first is something that I speak about often: it involves aging of the skin due to cumulative sun exposure. The second involves volume changes in our faces. Once we hit our thirties, the bones in our faces start to change, and so do the face’s structured fat compartments. Certain fat compartments grow while others shrink. These shifts in our bony and fat compartments are responsible for much of the way our faces change as we age. Our faces have a certain balance, with critical attractive ratios built in naturally, but as we age this balance becomes upset and our faces appear older and more tired. This is where facial fillers can come into play.

By adding back facial volume, it is possible to reverse the signs of facial aging. While the traditional hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane work well in certain facial regions, if a person is missing significant facial volume then Sculptra is often the best answer.

How Sculptra Works

Sculptra is Poly L-Lactic acid. It is similar to a suture we use in surgery called Vicryl. When this dissolvable suture is used, it stimulates collagen formation and makes the wound stronger. Because the deep wound is stronger, we can remove the surface sutures earlier.

Sculptra performs similarly, creating new collagen when injected in the skin. It arrives at my office in a powder form that I then reconstitute with water and anesthetic. This solution of numbing agent and Sculptra is then injected into the areas needing volume restoration. It’s not unusual to use 16 to 24 ccs of Sculptra volume per treatment, as this is often the proper amount a face needs to restore its youthful volume. The results at the end of the treatment are often jaw dropping because of the full volume restoration that occurs with adding 16 to 24 ccs of water, anesthetic and Sculptra to a face. Now, that water and anesthetic does reabsorb. I tell patients that they’ll have the full correction for 2 days, and then the water will reabsorb and the face will go back to its original state. It’s like Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage. After midnight the carriage turns back into a pumpkin, and after two days the face returns to its pretreatment state. After that is when the magic happens.

The small particles of Sculptra land wherever the Sculptra solution was originally injected. The body then finds those particles and builds collagen around them. This results in a partial restoration of the original result seen right after the injection. Each week the face grows back more and more of its natural collagen. People frequently ask my patients what they’re doing because they keep looking younger and younger as they regain the lost volume of their youth. This treatment results in looking better gradually.

Sculptra Before and After

Sculptra allows for volume replacement in a gradual, as well as economical, way.


Sculptra Before and After

Sculptra provides gentle gradual improvement we call “getting younger gradually.”