Sculptra Aesthetic is now FDA approved for cosmetic use.
Dr. Humble did the original FDA safety studies on Sculptra and serves as consultant and medical education faculty for Sanofi-Aventis, makers of Sculptra. Sculptra is the trade name for the substance Polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is a simple synthesized sugar that once injected into an area, gradually stimulates the production of collagen. It can be used to naturally fill out cheeks, temples and the hollow under your eyes with your own collagen.
The product is designed to breakdown naturally into lactic acid which your body has a natural pathway to further breakdown into carbon dioxide and water. The results, in general persist through 25 months (greater than 2 years) with some patients obtaining even longer lasting results.
Dr. Gail Humble participated in the original FDA study for Sculptra approval in the US in 2004, and have been using the material since 2001. She has the most experience in the US with this product, and because of this has been retained as consultant for the company that manufactures it, Dermik Labs Bridegwater NJ,USA.
Her experience is sought out by other physicians across the country in the proper use and maximum benefit when using Sculptra. She has presented her ongoing research with PLA at various medical conferences for the past 5 years and has published her findings in leading medical journals. See our press page for these and other publications.
So what is Polylactic Acid/Sculptra?
Polylactic acid is a synthesized simple sugar that is used in cosmetic practices as a soft tissue filler. This is different from other soft tissue fillers in many ways. First, it lasts through 2 years, and in some patients even longer. Second it can be used as a volume filler, more like fat grafting but with none of the down time and necessary donor site removed. Its viability once placed is not variable as in fat transfers. As one ages their cheeks, under eyes and even chin and neck loose volume. Instead of pulling this tissue back, Sculptra allows us to add back the volume in a simple half hour office procedure. A lot of the initial studies were done in patients that have HIV and facial wasting. Nothing is more deforming or devastating than this. In our Before and After photos you will see the amazing results of Sculptra and its application in any patient that has lost volume due to aging. The process of facial fat loss is called lipoatrophy.
Watch a video of Dr Humble performing a “liquid facelift” procedure using Sculptra, as featured on Channel 4 NBC San Francisco
How is the procedure done?
A single procedure involves injecting Sculptra into the areas to be treated, This is done with a nerve block which makes the entire procedure painless. The procedure is repeated at five to six week intervals. The entire process takes approximately one half an hour. The exact number of sessions needed to fill the area being treated depends on the depth of the original deficit. Sculptra can be used to augment as well as fill. It can build out one’s chin and fill in large areas of acne depressed scars. The average face looses 4 to 5 cc of volume per year. The result is a downward pull and Sculptra can give this volume back resulting in a more youthful appearance.
What are the cosmetic uses of Sculptra?
Sculptra is used to restore volume to the sunken parts of the face: filling in the hollow under the eyes,heightening cheekbones and reshaping the chin area. Its use is similar to fat injections to the face, without the 2-3 weeks of swelling.
Specific questions for severe Lipoatrophy
How many sessions are required?
The exact number of sessions required to return the face to normal will depend on the degree of fat wasting, the areas which must be treated (temples, sunken cheeks, etc.) and the quality of the skin, as well as the age of the patient.
Absolutely all patients can be helped. The crucial factor in getting back the face you want is the use of the proper dosage and the proper injection technique. Even for a very good physician who is experienced in doing other types of facial injections, the product is very difficult to use. The particulate suspension can make it tricky to inject and there are multiple sites to be filled (the buccal fat pads, the temples, the perizygomatic and preauricular areas) to give back a normal more youthful contour.
It is important for physicians (cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists) receive appropriate training in how to inject the smallest quantity for the best result in each area. Dr. Gail Humble is a sought after trainer for physicians across the US in the proper injection techniques for Sculptra.
Is it safe?
Polylactic acid is extremely safe. It is a simple sugar with a long history of use in cosmetic procedures. There is no reported allergic reaction, such as there are with other fillers. When placed too superficially, transient nodules can occur. This is very rare but again this is technique dependent. It is extremely important that the physician be well trained in the use of Sculptra. You can count on your Dr. Gail Humbles’ vast experience with this product to give you the result you want with the minimal amount of risk and expense.
Are the injections painful?
All injections are done with a 26 or 25 gauge needle. This is a very fine needle and a nerve block is placed prior to injections. Because of this, it hurts less than Collagen. There is some swelling after due to the volume injected so ice packs are applied. Patients may apply make up and return to work immediately after the procedure.
Case Study 1 – Lipoatrophy
Case Study 2 – Lipoatrophy
Marianne’s Sculptra Journal
Marianne, a patient of Dr. Humbles’, posted an online journal which describes her experience with using Sculptra to fill in the hollows under her eyes, augment her cheeks, and fill out her nasolabials.