Sculptra, an injectable poly-l-lactic acid filler that is sometimes referred to as a “liquid facelift,” has just been FDA approved for restoring volume to the face. Dr. Usha Rajagopal of the San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center treats a large number of her patients with Sculptra. “Sculptra is a great product for facial volume restoration. The results last much longer than with other fillers. An allergy test is not needed since the ingredients in Sculptra do not come from a human or animal source,” says Dr. Rajagopal.
Although Sculptra’s results last much longer than other injectable fillers, the results do not appear immediately. Instead, the effects emerge gradually. It typically takes at least 2-3 months for the desired fullness to appear. The actual procedure is rather quick. First, a topical numbing cream is applied to the area of the face that will receive the injection approximately an hour before the treatment. Ice can be applied to the injection site afterward to help with swelling and bruising. Patients can return to normal activities the same day. After care instructions involve massaging the treated area for five minutes, five times a day, for five days after treatment (The saying “five-five-five” helps patients remember this important rule). Multiple treatments that are spaced out six to twelve weeks apart are usually needed. Individuals with very little to no fat in the face will need more treatments and vials than someone with moderate to mild facial wasting.
Before the recent FDA approval, Sculptra had been used for years for treating HIV-associated facial lipoatrophy in HIV and AIDs patients. Now it is approved for use in patients who are looking to restore volume and fullness to the face that has been lost during the normal aging process. Poly-l-lactic acid
The cost of Sculptra, much like the cost of other cosmetic procedures, varies greatly by region of the country. At the San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, Sculptra costs $800 per vial. For a patient wanting to treat the entire face, 3-4 vials are typically needed. Fewer vials are needed for someone looking to only treat a portion of the face, such as underneath the eyes, for example.