When a new patient comes in to the office, they know that they want “something” done, but they frequently aren’t exactly sure what it should be. Sometimes they make a vague reference to a friend having gotten fillers and they ask whether that’s the right solution, and a few will even have done the research and mention a product by name. “I need Botox,” they say, or sometimes, “I need Juvederm.” Some even say that they need a facelift. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer: every patient is different and has different needs, and I work hard to give them the solution that is best for their particular goals.
Fillers have become increasingly popular, and for good reason. They are affordable and non-invasive, and you can get them done without having to worry about locking yourself out of sight for a few weeks. Each filler has its own specific best use. Where Restylane and Juvederm are excellent for specific areas of volume loss in the face, if your concerns are about volume loss in the whole face then there’s a good chance that I’m going to recommend that we use Sculptra. Let’s take a look at what makes this filler one of the most effective non-surgical answers for restoring volume and filling in folds and sunken areas in multiple areas of the face.
Other fillers, like Juvederm and Restylane, are formulated using hyaluronic acid and are designed to immediately fill in the areas under the skin where wrinkles and creases have formed. Sculptra is a collagen stimulator. It is made from polylactic acid, which is a product of sugar cane. This material has been used for many years to make the kind of stitches that end up dissolving and being absorbed by the skin. That process was discovered to stimulate the growth of collagen, and as a result the material was eventually recognized as an excellent answer for those in need of restored facial volume.
There are a number of important differences between Sculptra and other fillers. First is that while it does have an immediate effect, this initial impact only lasts for a day or two. When you have a Sculptra injection, the material that I inject will fill the space under your skin in much the same way that hyaluronic acid fillers do. But that effect goes away in two days, and you will be left looking much the same as you did when you first came into my office. Though patients are often disappointed by this, I like to think of this as Sculptra’s magic. Once the swelling from the fluid that the Sculptra is dissolved in disappears, the collagen stimulation process begins. The microparticles of polylactic acid initiate the formation of sheets of collagen under the skin. The process takes approximately 8 weeks, providing patients with the amazing experience of witnessing a real change that is so gradual that it is invisible to those around them. Your friends and family will notice that you look better, but they won’t be able to pinpoint why! This gradual result is often referred to as “Looking Better Gradually.”
In most cases, Sculptra is accomplished in a series of two or three treatments: after eight weeks go by we will assess how it has worked and determine where and how much more you need to achieve the look that you want. Best of all, because the Sculptra injection is not filling the area below your skin with a material, but instead generating your own collagen to grow, the impact lasts much longer. Most patients achieve results that last for two to five years.