Sculptra is a safe, synthetic, and biocompatible material derived from fruit acids. It’s injected below the surface of the skin to create a fuller, more youthful appearance. Sculptra provides a gradual and significant increase in skin thickness, improving the appearance of wrinkles, folds, and sunken areas.
When it comes to treating volume loss in the face, a series of Sculptra injections is often the treatment of choice. The results a fuller, smoother, more youthful-looking face, with less pronounced lines, creases, wrinkles, and folds will last years.
Sculptra Quick Facts
- Long-term results
- Natural collagen stimulation
- Anti-aging benefits
Sculptra has been approved by the FDA since 2014 for facial rejuvenation. In the past year, we’ve seen a bunch of new cutting-edge applications for Sculptra. These are the treatments and uses we feel Sculptra produces the best results for currently:
Sculptra Liquid Facelift
Sculptra has been called a “facelift in a bottle” and was the original dermal filler touted as a “liquid facelift.” Unlike hyaluronic acid fillers (like Juvederm, Voluma, and Restylane), Sculptra doesn’t work so well at spot-treating, but instead works well to broadly restore lost volume and fat across large areas.
By age 50, your face will lose up to 30% of it’s natural collagen support1. Sculptra works to rebuild that collagen – naturally, throughout your entire face.
A recent study showed that skin collagen decreases linearly by about 1% per year throughout adult life1, starting around age 20.
Sculptra is an injectable treatment that achieves excellent results in treating all parts of the face, including the areas around the eyes and lips, cheeks, and neck, and between the mouth and nose. It adds volume to the cheeks, to folds around the chin, and to hollow areas around the eyes. All of these areas may be injected during one visit. Sculptra can also be used for increasing the volume of depressed areas, particularly to correct skin depressions in the areas of the temples, eye rings, cheeks, nasolabial folds, “marionette lines”, and chin. Sculptra can be used to sculpt your face by restoring its natural contours, and by smoothing out wrinkles, creases, and folds.
Visible results appear naturally and progressively after each treatment session. While Sculptra will not correct the underlying cause of facial fat loss, it will help improve the appearance by increasing skin firmness in the treated area.
- Recovery & Downtime: None required
- Numbing: Lidocaine numbing is mixed into the Sculptra
- Cost: $1050 for the first vial and $950 for additional ones
- Candidacy: Anyone who wants thicker, fuller skin and immediate improvement in wrinkles, folds, and depressions
- Duration: Multiple years
- Why We Love It: Comprehensive, long-lasting volume and collagen stimulator
Non-Surgical Butt Augmentation
Sculptra has become the non-surgical butt augmentation and enhancement treatment of choice. These injections can add volume to the butt, but also work to lift and firm the skin, for a smoother, tighter derriere with less visible cellulite. Sculptra butt injections have no downtime and require no restrictions on working out, driving, or sitting – making them a convenient and easy way to achieve a tighter, toned butt. This is also often the only treatment option for patients with very low body fat.
This treatment is often not less expensive than fat transfer surgery (also called “Brazilian Butt Lift”), but many patients find that this is the right choice for them because:
- It doesn’t require having extra fat to be transferred
- Just like fat transfer, the results are all you – and natural and long-lasting
- Unlike fat transfer, Sculptra injections help improve skin quality (firmness and tightness)
- There’s no downtime – and no restrictions from work or working out
In general, people need more Sculptra to augment the butt or increase its size than they do to firm and smooth the butt’s skin (cellulite, stretch marks, loose skin, dimples, spot treatments, etc.). For augmentation, most patients will need at least 16 vials of Sculptra. For spot correction, occasionally we can get great results with fewer vials, but most patients find 4 vials or more to give them the transformation they’re looking for.
- Recovery & Downtime: Local anesthetic, topical anesthetic optional
- Numbing: Lidocaine numbing is mixed into the Sculptra
- Cost: $1050 for the first vial and $950 for additional ones
- Candidacy: Those who want skin texture improvements or augmentation with no downtime
- Duration: Several years
- Why We Love It: Sculptra injections may be the only way to naturally augment the butt for some people and has the benefit of no downtime or restrictions
Skin Resurfacing Collagen Booster
Boosters for laser skin resurfacing have been a big theme of the past year’s innovations in cosmetic medicine. Sculptra offers a unique take on how to boost the results from a single laser resurfacing treatment. Instead of injecting Sculptra, it’s applied topically directly after lasering, to deliver Sculptra down the micro-channels created by the laser, for a big boost in the collagen stimulation provided in the treatment, without risks of swelling and bruising from injections.
- Recovery & Downtime: Avoid excess sun exposure
- Numbing: Whatever’s needed for the laser treatment
- Cost: $1050 for the first vial and $950 for additional ones
- Candidacy: People undergoing laser resurfacing who want even better, longer-lasting results
- Duration: Many years
- Why We Love It: Multiplies the benefits of laser resurfacing with a simple topical treatment – no bruising risk
Before & Afters of Sculptra
Why Choose Reflections For Sculptra Injections?
Sculptra is not your typical dermal filler. It requires specialized training to inject properly – and even more so, to use for butt augmentation, cellulite smoothing, or skin resurfacing is even more cutting-edge (and thus, less likely for your average physician to be properly trained in).
So here’s what you need to ask about:
- Experience, specifically with this procedure (not just with Sculptra) – fact-check them by asking to see their specific before and afters
- How frequently do you go to hands-on trainings and conferences? Bonus points if they also are the trainer physician for other doctors who are learning
- What would you do if there was a complication?
Not only looking at before and afters but also asking the doctor the details of that patient’s experience – side effects, time until seeing full results, how long their results lasted, and other questions can be even more helpful when deciding on a Sculptra injector.
Any doctor who has the expertise to train other physicians is a prime candidate for your treatments, as you know they’re at the top of their game for that specific procedure. Finally, making sure they have a good contingency plan for negative side effects is key to having a risk-free procedure.
- How much is Sculptra?
We price Sculptra by the amount used. Sculptra comes in vials, and we charge $1050 for the first vial and $950 for any additional vials purchased at the same time. For this reason, many patients choose to purchase multiple vials at once, even if they don’t plan to use them all at once.
- So how much Sculptra will I need?
The number of vials you will need per session depends on the individual – some patients will need one or two vials for their face, while others will need up to 10 to augment their butt. Your free consultation will include a treatment plan with the number of vials expected to be used at each treatment session.
- How long until I see a result?
Many patients are excited by how they look immediately following injection. Sculptra is mixed with a good deal of water to ensure it gets spread evenly throughout the treatment area. Unfortunately, the immediate effect is short-lived, typically lasting less than 24 hours. But patients can consider this as a “preview” of sorts of the results they should see 3-12 weeks later.
- How many patient treatment sessions will I need?
Patients will need more than one treatment to reach their goals with Sculptra. Typically, patients need 2-4 sessions with Sculptra to achieve facial volume restoration goals. This can be more or less, depending on what other modalities and therapies we combine with Sculptra to achieve your goals. Butt augmentation takes more treatments, whereas cellulite reduction typically takes fewer (1-2).
At your initial treatment, we will guide you on how many treatments are required. Generally, Sculptra is injected in three treatment sessions over a two-month-to three-month period (at four-week to six-week intervals). During this time, unwanted deep lines and wrinkles gradually diminish as the skin firms up as a result of the production of your own collagen.
The fluid of the injection makes wrinkles look like they are completely gone right after the procedure. This injected volume will disappear after the first week as the fluid is absorbed. Makeup can be applied right away after Sculptra injections.
- Will I need to take time off from work or social activities?
For most patients, the answer is no – there’s no downtime after Sculptra injections. Bruising is possible, so that would be the one time when patients do take some time away from work or social activities. We take bruising seriously – and work hard to ensure this doesn’t happen. The first thing we do is to ensure we’re using sharp needles. For all of our injections, we swap out to new, sharp needles frequently. This is one of the best ways to prevent bruising. We also use a special blood vessel visualization tool called the Accuvein to help us avoid hitting blood vessels during injections, which is what causes the very worst bruising. We also request patients stop all blood thinning over-the-counter medications and supplements 2-3 weeks prior to Sculptra injections, including vitamin E, fish oil, aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and ginkgo biloba. Do not stop taking prescription medications without first getting the approval of the prescribing physician. Should you have bruising following your treatment, we can use our VBeam laser to break up the bruise and make the healing and recovery process much faster. If this happens to you, simply contact our office and we’ll get you in for treatment ASAP. Bruise-reduction follow-ups and laser treatments are provided free of charge to our Sculptra patients. Typically this will reduce the duration of a bruise to 2-3 days max. The fluid of the injection makes wrinkles look like they are completely gone right after the procedure. This injected volume will disappear after the first week as the fluid is absorbed. Makeup can be applied right away after Sculptra injections.
- What is the treatment like?
Sculptra is injected into the skin in tiny amounts, swapping in fresh needles. Local anesthetic is injected along with the Sculptra, making the treatment quite comfortable. Each Sculptra treatment session generally takes from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the number of areas treated and the effects you want to achieve.
- Can I finance my sculptra treatments?
Sculptra ranges between $950-1050 per vial. We accept financing for all bills over $1000. You can purchase multiple treatment sessions to reach that limit, if needed. Find more information, as well as how to apply online before your consultation, here on our financing options page.
- Will insurance cover my sculptra injections?
Scuptra is often prescribed as the treatment of choice for HIV-positive patients who experience severe facial wasting (gaunt appearance) due to their illness. In this case, insurance does cover treatment. However, we have never seen insurance approve to pay for Sculptra for any other circumstance. We do not accept insurance payments, but if you are HIV-positive and seeking Sculptra injections, we can provide you with itemized billing to submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Any denials or appeals by your insurance will be your responsibility entirely.
- Does it hurt? Will I need numbing or anesthesia?
Sculptra injections are deeper than Botox – around the same depth as Voluma. We want our patients to be comfortable, so we do typically mix a numbing anesthetic (similar to what your dentist injects before filling a cavity) into the Sculptra, to make the injections comfortable. The numbing wears off normally in a few hours. We can also offer patients a mix of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to reduce anxiety, for those who are particularly sensitive to or nervous about injections. Combined, these medications keep even the most sensitive patients comfortable.
- What are the risks for complications?
Sculptra’s most serious risks are allergic reaction and granulomas (bumps). We can do an allergy test if you suspect you may be allergic to Sculptra. This is very rare. The risk of granulomas can be significantly reduced by using proper injection technique and following post-injection care instructions, including massage. Tenderness and mild swelling are the most common side effects. Some patients do experience bruising. See the question above regarding downtime to learn more about what to expect following your injections.
- How is sculptra different from other dermal fillers?
Sculptra is very different from other dermal fillers. The most popular dermal fillers, like Restylane, Juvederm, and Voluma, are made of hyaluronic acid(HA). These fillers create an immediate result that very gradually dissipates as the body metabolizes the HA. Typically the dissolving process takes between 6 and 18 months. On the other hand, Sculptra works slowly over 1-3 months to stimulate your body to build more of its own new cells (collagen cells) for results that last over two years (they’re your own cells, so they stick around for a really long time). Where HA fillers are used to spot treat areas of concern, Sculptra treats widespread concerns. Your entire face ages and loses collagen, so it makes sense that natural facial rejuvenation should be done in a global, widespread process to create the most natural and balanced results. On the other hand, Sculptra can’t really be used to correct asymmetries or unbalanced proportions in the way HA fillers can. For example, say your under eyes have lost fat volume much faster than the rest of your face. That is not easily corrected with Sculptra but is better suited to an HA filler spot treatment. Lip augmentation is better treated with HA filler, whereas lip lines are often better treated with Sculptra or other collagen-stimulating treatments.
- What can I do to maximize my results from sculptra?
It is important to thoroughly massage the treated areas for five minutes, five times daily, for five days to seven days after each treatment, to allow for the even distribution of the product and to ensure natural-looking results. You will be instructed in how to perform these massages during your first treatment session. It is very important to complete these. You may be tempted to skip massages because you’re busy, or because you’re tender where you were injected. Do not skip these. They are critical to ensuring you get the results you desire from Sculptra. You can really maximize the effect from Sculptra by combining it with other procedures and treatments, such as:
- Lifting Threads made from similar dissolving substances that encourage collagen growth make for a nice lifting addition and instant results for both face and body.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing can be used to create channels for Sculptra to penetrate deeply into the skin topically. This is a cutting-edge application of Sculptra that generates more collagen from laser skin resurfacing, without the risk of bruising or swelling.
- Sculptra is made from Ploy-l-lactic Acid (PLA) - are there other cosmetic applications for PLA?
Poly-L-Lactic Acid was first used in cosmetic surgery as dissolving sutures. Plastic surgeons found that having sutures dissolve on their own (vs. physically removing them) created better scars, but it wasn’t just because they weren’t disrupting the wound during its healing process to remove the stitches – it was also because as these stitches dissolved, the body laid down collagen in their place. Collagen forms the structural support mesh in the deepest layers of the skin. Replenishing and restoring collagen creates skin that is bouncier, firmer, tighter, smoother, and more youthful, naturally. So naturally, this discovery that PLA could be used to get the body to build more collagen has been used in several applications for cosmetic outcomes. Silhouette InstaLift is the most popular other PLA cosmetic treatment at use in the U.S. currently. These dissolving lifting threads can be used in combination with Sculptra to create an immediate lifting effect that builds new collagen to support tissue into maintaining this new, lifted position.
- Who makes Sculptra?
Sculptra is currently owned by Galderma, the same dermal filler company responsible for the Restylane line of dermal fillers and Dysport.
- How can I save money on my Sculptra treatments?
Reflections offers an exclusive Rewards program, in addition to Galderma’s Aspire rewards. To learn more please visit our Rewards Plus Program page.
Read Our Blogs About Sculptra
Whether it’s fillers to plump lips or Botox® for frown lines, injectables...Read More
Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.