Aesthetic Medicine > Aesthetic
Treatments > Collagen-Stimulating Fillers (Sculptra - PLLA)
Fillers (Sculptra - PLLA)
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.
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)
- Tear Trough
- In fact any
area that display a loss of volume
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
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.
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
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.
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:
- You need numbing cream
for 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure.
- It is still rather
painful with that many injections.
- It is very likely to
cause bruising and swelling afterwards.
- 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:
- No need for numbing cream.
- Only two injections on each side of the
face. It is relatively painless and may be just slightly
- 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.
- It is much less likely to cause lumps in
the skin. We had only 1 palpable (not visible) single nodule
Illustration of Injection
Immediate after injection with no bruises or