The cosmetic injectables industry is constantly striving to create longer lasting and better performing dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid (HA) injections are the gold standard for non-surgical facial rejuvenation; however, their one limitation has been longevity. Sculptra® is an FDA-approved injectable wrinkle filler and acne scar treatments that works differently than hyaluronic acid. Instead of replacing lost volume with HA gel (which attracts water to plump up the skin), it helps the body naturally stimulate collagen. Sculptra® is indicated for use in the nasolabial fold area (smile lines), marionette lines and chin wrinkles.
Sculptra® is classified as a collagen stimulator that works gradually over time. It uses poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) microspheres to create a foundation under the skin around which collagen can form. Although there’s some immediate plumping effect from the Sculptra® gel, it quickly dissipates and the skin returns to its previous condition. Results develop slowly over the course of treatment (typically 4 months) and can last up to two years.*
The biggest disadvantage of Sculptra® is the long time it takes to see results. Three to six treatments (spaced six weeks apart) are usually required at $400-500 or more per syringe. Multiple syringes are typically used during each session. Even still, the desired wrinkle reduction and volume improvements may not be achieved. After making a considerable investment of time and money the outcome is only temporary. Sculptra® lasts approximately two years with additional sessions needed afterwards to maintain the collagen-building effect.
Another drawback with Sculptra® is the possible complication known as granuloma. Granulomas are small areas of inflammation that manifest as hard lumps under the skin. They have been known to form as a direct result of Sculptra® injections. Sometimes the body’s immune system identifies the PLLA as a foreign material and tries to surround it with a protective ‘wall.’ Granulomas once form cannot be dissolved. Steroid injections can reduce them in some cases or they can be removed with surgery. It’s important to note that once you’ve had Sculptra® injections in a particular area, most doctors will not inject HA-based fillers there ever again. Mixing PLLA and HA molecules increases the chances of long-term complications and is therefore a contraindication.
Dr. Mosser and his team at Azala Medical Aesthetics have chosen to offer Juvederm and Restylane products exclusively. These HA-based dermal fillers remain the safest and superior options for building facial volume and reducing wrinkles without surgery. The good news is that HA fillers innovation has improved their longevity and performance dramatically. For instance, Juvederm’s new Vycross® filler Voluma can last up to 24 months in areas such as cheeks, chin and jawline.*
The biggest advantage of HA products is their safety profile and reversibility. Should the need arise to have HA filler dissolved for any reason, a small amount of the enzyme hyaluronidase instantly breaks down the HA molecules and removes them from the body. This adds another dimension of safety and peace of mind for both patients and physicians alike when performing non-surgical facial rejuvenation.
* Individual results may vary, and not guaranteed.