We have looked into the Hyaluronic acid fillers, which work mainly by absorbing water and hold up a volume. There has been another class of filler on the market since 1999, and has just been launched in Hong Kong in 2010.

This filler compose of poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA). Currently the only brand available is Sculptra.

What Is Sculptra - PLLA?

PLLA is a synthetic but biocompatible, biodegradable material that has been used in surgical resorbable stitches for decades. It is the main ingredient in Sculptra, and is now a new type of facial injectable which helps to replace lost collagen.

How Does Sculptra Work?

Collagen is a key structural component that keeps skin looking youthful and smooth. As you age, your body's collagen production decreases, and you may begin to see wrinkles. Sculptra works to replace lost collagen in the deep dermis in a series of treatments, and correct shallow to deep facial wrinkles and folds, by stimulating the natural production of collagen, and this results in a refined, more youthful looking appearance.

Sculptra is very different because it gradually and subtly corrects these facial wrinkles. This can provide a refined, more youthful looking appearance that can last up to two years.

Sculptra is most suitable for people who do not want a sudden, too much improvement in an instant. Hence your friends and relatives may not notice that you have something done except that you appear younger and younger over the next few months.

 
Before treatment After 1 session After 3 sessions 20 months later

How Does Sculptra Work?

Sculptra is for use in people as one-time treatment regimen of up to 4 injection sessions that are scheduled about 3 – 4 weeks apart. No allergy testing is required prior to treatment as Sculptra is biocompatible. Sculptra is injected into the deep dermis and subcutis layer, and is suitable for :

  • Deep folds between the nose and the mouth (nasolabial folds)
  • The lines framing your mouth (marionette lines)
  • Cheek wrinkles
  • Temples
  • Sunken cheeks
  • Tear Trough
  • In fact any area that display a loss of volume

On average, three injection sessions are needed over a few months, but your doctor will tailor the sessions to best suit your desired outcome. It is important to return for all sessions in order to get the maximum effect from the gradual process of collagen replacement.

In each session, the number of injections will vary depending on the degree of correction that is right for you. Your doctor may use a topical anesthetic cream and you may experience injection site discomfort in the treatment process.

Immediately after you may experience some swelling. This is a preview of how you may look once your facial wrinkles and folds have been smoothed. This swelling on average subsides within a few days and the wrinkles will temporarily reappear as the gradual process of collagen replacement continues. You may begin to see progressive visible results within the first few weeks after each treatment session.

During the course of treatment, your physician may adjust your treatment plan to help you reveal a natural-looking appearance that's uniquely yours. However, individual results and treatment sessions may vary from person to person.

Normal activities can be resumed immediately; however, you are advised to stay out of the sun. You should massage the area for a few times a day for 3 days or so, this will help promote even distribution of Sculptra.

How Does Sculptra Work?

Following an average of three treatment sessions, 4-6 vials of Sculptra, over a few months, clinical studies have shown that the results can last for two years after the final treatment has been completed, significantly longer than other injectables such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. After that you can do a touch up, when only 1 vial of Sculptra is necessary to maintain the good natural look.

What Are The Side Effects?

Side effects may include injection site discomfort, pain, redness, bruising, swelling, and/or itching that may last for a few days.

Small bumps and larger lumps under the skin in the treated area may appear but these typically go away on their own without treatment, although very rarely some may require a small injection with steroid.

Our Unique Injection Technique

Most doctors use a short needle to inject the Sculptra. This would require multiple injections up to 15 to 20 jabs on each side of the face. The problems with that is:

  1. You need numbing cream for 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure.
  2. It is still rather painful with that many injections.
  3. It is very likely to cause bruising and swelling afterwards.
  4. It is more likely to cause lumps in the skin.

At DrHB Clinic, ever from our first patient, we use a longer injection tool called the cannula. The doctor only need to numb two small areas on each side of the face by injecting a drop of local anaesthetic. Through these 2 small areas, a slightly bigger needle is used to pierce a hole and through these two little holes the cannula is inserted underneath the skin, when Scuptra is injected. This cannula technique can reach most part of the facial area that need enhancement. Advantages are:

  1. No need for numbing cream.
  2. Only two injections on each side of the face. It is relatively painless and may be just slightly uncomfortable.
  3. It causes no bruising in most cases. In 1 year, we had injected over 100 vials for 30 people, and yet only 2 cases of bruising.
  4. It is much less likely to cause lumps in the skin. We had only 1 palpable (not visible) single nodule so far.
Illustration of Injection Cannula Immediate after injection with no bruises or swelling
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