Sculptra® Aesthetic injectable is used to reverse the signs of facial fat loss that occur with aging. By restoring collagen, which decreases as the body ages, it fills out shallow-to-deep wrinkles and folds that run from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds). It is not appropriate for use in the eye and lip areas.
Sculptra Aesthetic's main component is an alpha hydroxy acid called poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which is a safe and long-lasting synthetic (artificially created), biocompatible (can be used harmlessly in the body), biodegradable (able to be broken down by the body) substance. PLLA has been used for more than 20 years in many surgical products, including dissolvable sutures and soft-tissue implants.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for the treatment of nasolabial folds, Sculptra Aesthetic is considered safe and effective for most patients. Because it works gradually, patients achieve a more youthful, natural-looking appearance with subtle, yet noticeable, results. Although not FDA-approved to treat them, according to manufacturer Valeant Aesthetics, Sculptra Aesthetic can be used on marionette lines (at the corners of the mouth) and chin wrinkles. Because it contains no animal, human or bacterial components, allergy testing is not necessary prior to treatment. There is little-to-no downtime after receiving Sculptra injections; most patients return to their normal activities immediately.
Sculptra Aesthetic injections are designed to be a one-time treatment. A patient can have up to 4 injection sessions, which are spread 3 weeks apart. When injected into shallow-to-deep folds and lines, the additional collagen that is produced smooths them out, and adds volume to the skin. Results of Sculptra injections vary but, in a clinical study, their effects were shown to last for up to 2 years in most patients.
Possible side effects of Sculptra injections include localized bleeding, tenderness, discomfort, redness, bruising and swelling. Side effects usually fade within a few days, although can last longer.
According to Valeant Aesthetics, "Other side effects may include small lumps under the skin that are sometimes noticeable when pressing on the treated area. Larger lumps, some with delayed onset with or without inflammation or skin discoloration, have also been reported."