Getting to Know Sculptra
Dr. Palm’s History with Sculptra
Sculptra, or poly-L-lactic acid, has been a favorite injectable product of mine for more than a decade. Since I began injecting the product in 2005, I’ve written a book chapter, four published medical papers, and conducted four clinical trials as well as testifying to the FDA on its benefits in order to encourage an expansion of its product labeling. I’ve injected it in hundreds of patients, and am a Sculptra patient myself.
I’ve Never Heard of Sculptra, What is It?
So what exactly is Sculptra or poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA)? PLLA’s roots in medicine date back at least four decades, where it first had applications as a complex sugar used in dental and orthopedic implants. PLLA is also a component to absorbable sutures by the brand name Vicryl—commonly used in skin surgeries. FDA-approved first in 2004 as Sculptra, it was utilized as a collagen-stimulating agent to help with volume loss on the face associated with HIV lipoatrophy. Many astute physicians started using Sculptra in non-HIV patients, recognizing the robust ability of this product to increase the thickness of our dermis (the second layer of our skin), and provide structural support and volume replacement in the face related to aging. In 2009, Sculptra Aesthetic, which is exactly the same product as the original Sculptra, was FDA-approved for the correction of moderate to deep facial folds and wrinkles in immunocompetent, non-HIV patients.
Where Does Sculptra Fit into my Aesthetic Treatment Plan?
Why is Sculptra a consistent component in my aesthetic toolbox? Its consistent results, ability to make meaningful changes gradually over time, and its collagen-stimulating ability are all reasons I use Sculptra Aesthetic in my practice. I always hope to restore the natural beauty in my patients and slow or reverse some of the aging process. Sculptra offers collagen replacement that restores natural highlight to the face, replaces lost bony and soft tissue support, and oftentimes provides a “Sculptra Glow”—a perceptible improvement in skin quality likely due to thickening of the dermis from the product.
Sculptra is one of the more common treatment options explored with patients at Art of Skin MD. In a comprehensive treatment plan that often encompasses neuromodulators, injectable hyaluronic acid fillers, laser or light treatment, skin tightening procedures, and of course, skincare for home use.
Why Sculptra Now?
Sculptra is one of the more popular injectable treatments myself and our registered nurse, Jessica Scott, offer at Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, CA. In fact, Art of Skin MD has been a top 100 account for the product here in the U.S. Each Spring, we offer a once a year savings for our loyal Sculptra patients to capture value with a series of Sculptra Aesthetic treatments.
This Spring 2020, we are offering a special savings of buy 3 Sculptra, and receive a Restylane Lyft for free. Restylane Lyft was formerly called Perlane, and it is a hyaluronic acid in the Restylane family of injectable dermal fillers. The largest particle filler in the Restylane family, it has lifting capacity to help provide structural support to various areas of the face including the cheeks, deep nasolabial folds, the jawline and the chin. Over a year ago, Restylane Lyft also received FDA-approval for volume restoration to the back of the hands.
Restylane Lyft injection is also an area of expertise of mine and I’ve had the distinct pleasure of participating in the national launch of the product a couple of years ago, as the physician injector of the model used in a Restylane campaign (also shown below). Have a look at the artistic finish in the model’s cheeks!
Learning from the Sculptra Expert
Dr. Palm Shares her Sculptra Journey with Galderma
Recently, I helped Galderma, the makers of Sculptra, with a comprehensive video series to walk physicians through an expert’s view of how best to harness the capabilities of Sculptra for their patients. In this series, I discuss, from start to finish, the treatment experience—from patient consultation, to assessment of the patient, to proper injection technique in the lower face. It is important to note that in this series, I explain ONLY FDA on-label uses of Sculptra and Sculptra Aesthetic. Therefore, more sophisticated and often injected areas like the temples and jawline are not discussed or demonstrated.
Enjoy this multi-part series as I walk you through my approach to patient consultation, addressing expectations, setting up Sculptra patients for success, facial assessment of the patient, proper injection technique, and tips on product use.
Sculptra Aesthetic Patient Management Consultation and Expectations with Dr. Palm
In this first of the video series, I provide background on Sculptra. It is important that my patients understand how Sculptra works, explanation of the product in layman’s terms, and how to set appropriate timelines and expectations of the product’s results. Sculptra is best accomplished as a personalized treatment regimen. Generally speaking, it requires a series of treatments and takes 3-6 months to see the best results from Sculptra. If immediate treatment results are desired from a filler product, Sculptra may not be the ideal choice and a more instant satisfaction outcome with a hyluronic acid filler may be better-suited to a pleasing outcome.
Sculptra Aesthetic Patient Consultation with Dr. Palm
I stress to the patients the importance of a cosmetic consultation face-to-face to explore the possibilities of facial rejuvenation with procedures such as Sculptra injection. In this video, you will see how I discuss with our patient Julie how she identifies changing areas in her face, and how I listen, interpret, and provide insight into how Art of Skin MD may help. As physicians, it is important we step back, and let patients take the wheel in expression their cosmetic concerns. It provides incredible insight for me as I help them to develop a successful treatment plan.
Patient Assessment for Sculptra Aesthetic with Dr. Palm
Careful and thoughtful placement of Sculptra starts with a good analysis of where placing Sculptra in the face will benefit the patient the most. In this video, I outline in the lower half of the face the FDA-approved regions that I can place Sculptra on our patient Julie.
Predictable areas of volume loss amenable to treatment with Sculptra Aesthetic often include support of the cheek, radial cheek lines, the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, the chin crease, and volume loss along the lateral face and along the jawline. These areas are highlighted in the videos above.
Sculptra Aesthetic Injection Technique with Dr. Palm
Sculptra Aesthetic injection is quite easy and a typical facial treatment takes approximately 10-20 minutes to complete. Typically, 1 hour prior to treatment, Dr. Palm’s treatment team applied a topical numbing agent for comfort during the injection session. Dr. Palm also adds a bit of lidocaine to the Sculptra mixture prior to injection make injection more comfortable for the patient.
In this video, I demonstrate the on-label FDA-approved areas of injection. Actual injection treatments take into account areas considered off-label, and techniques that are not necessarily demonstrated by myself in this injection video. However, I do think you gain an appreciation that this is a well-tolerated and efficient treatment.
Sculptra Product Tips for Success
In this section of the Sculptra video series, I discuss some of the physical characteristics and components that make up this collagen stimulator. This includes poly-L-lactic acid, carboxymethylcellulose, and mannitol. The two vials of 367.5 mg of poly-L-lactic acid are stored at room temperature and come as a lypholized (or freeze-dried) white cake of the product. This is reconstituted to form a homogenous mixture of the product with water and after agitation is ready for injection.
I hope this series helps provide useful information on Sculptra and its use for facial rejuvenation. This product serves a wide variety of patients, but Sculptra’s success hinges on proper patient consultation, preparation, and expectations. We hope that you will enjoy the success of Sculptra by taking advantage of our Special Savings program this month. Call 858.792.SKIN (9546) or email [email protected] to reserve your package today!