Plastic Surgery Channel expert Dr Bryan Forley from New York City talks about the new age injectable product called Sculptra and its recent clinical uses.
Sculptra is a different concept in terms of injectables that are used in the face. Sculptra, manufactured by Dermik, is Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLA). PLA is made from lactic acid, a natural substance that is necessary for cellular metabolism. Poly-L-Lactic Acid was used very successfully in orthopedic procedures for many years with applications in absorbable sutures, bone screws etc. The practice of using Sculptra for cosmetic surgery and procedures began in Europe in 1999.
Sculptra is used for restoring volume and improving facial contours. The difference between Sculptra and other injectable products like botox is that the active ingredient PLA stimulates the skin to produce collagen causes the fibroblasts to activate and produce collagen. The material works to gradually produce collagen increasing the thickness of the skin. The material is biocompatible and can be dissolved by the body. The results can be seen over a time period of 3 months or so when there will be a noticeable thickening of the skin.
Due to aging, there are a lot of shifting effects and changes to the skin. The volume of the skin shifts and there is a deepening of the folds, gels and flattening of the cheeks. The aim of using Sculptra in cosmetic procedures is to reduce shifting changes and to add volume. The procedure is gaining recognition due to being minimally invasive as well as being a gradual procedure where the collagen is produced inside one’s own body leading to very natural looking results. The added benefit is that the results are very long lasting and Dr. Forley has seen the results lasting for as long as 3 years.
Dr. Forley places a high level of importance to the final result in the plastic surgeon’s aesthetic judgment and understanding of anatomy and aging to the use of Sculptra®Aesthetic in the face. Dr. Forley practices in New York City and performs all injectable procedures himself and has developed an expertise, based on five years of experience, in the use of Sculptra, the predecessor to Sculptra®Aesthetic, for facial volume restoration.
Sculptra has been primarily used in the face to add volume to the cheeks in places where there has been a flattening as the cheek fat moves downwards causing a deepening of the nasolabial fold. Sculptra is also used in the area of the fold to smoothen the transition from the cheek to the lip where that fold deepens. Another common use is along the jaw line to camouflage the jaw by injecting and thickening the tissues in front of the jaw and along the angle of the jaw line thus creating a more defined jaw line. The entire package results in a very nice facial rejuvenating effect.
Another area, apart from the face where Sculptra has been used very successfully is on the hands. Over time, due to aging the skin on the hands starts losing its thickness and the appearance of the tendons and veins becomes more prominent. Patients often focus on the face and neglect their hands resulting in their hands giving away their true age. Sculptra used on the hands, thickens and adds volume to the skin reducing the above mentioned signs of aging.
Sculptra is a minimally invasive technique and patients rarely experience minor discomfort from the needle injection. Minor side effects of the injection may be mild tenderness and redness which reduce soon and disappear in a matter of a week or so.
Sculptra is a soft-tissue filler and compared to other soft-tissue fillers such as juvaderm or restylane tends to take a little longer to see the result and also tends to last longer than the other soft-tissue filler products. Sculptra is for those patients who are not looking for immediate gratification and are prepared to wait for the time period of at least 3 months for the results to show. Generally, a series of 2-3 treatments at 6-week intervals are necessary to achieve the desired effect. The benefit is of course that the changes are very gradual and the results are very natural looking and tend to last for a long time.