Sculptra: answers to multiple readers’ Sculptra questions!

Seem like I've had quite of few of these recently :) I'm thinking best to answer all in one post!!

I just want to remind everyone that Sculptra is lactic acid stuck together in chains (L-polylactic acid). It’s similar to the lactic acid your muscles generate (the soreness) when you work out at the gym. It works by generating your own new collagen and it’s very different from hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, etc. which are placed and then are gradually reabsorbed by the body.

Basic Info about Sculptra:

It is injected into skin and stimulates your own collagen growth. It goes away and leaves the new collagen. It is NOT permanent and lasts about 2 years, which means to that maintenance is needed approximately once a year (approximately 2 vials). This is after the initial series of 2-4 treatments.

1) A lump from Sculptra done 3 years ago near the cheekbone? 

This would be very unlikely since it only lasts approximately 2 years. There is no evidence that it “attaches itself around bone.” There is a simple way to solve this question which would be to have a small biopsy done of the bump. Many, many things can cause bumps on the face, including skin cancers (see my resource article on lumps, bumps and moles here). A small biopsy would show exactly what the lump is. A dermatologist should do the biopsy.

2) Can Sculptra be used with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis? 

It’s currently not recommended because patients with RA tend to be more prone to granulomas (inflammatory bumps) and, in a small percentage of patients, the Sculptra has gotten bumpy. The risk of this is very low. However, if the RA is active and not in remission, it’s probably not a good choice. Please speak to your doctor, the hyaluronic acid fillers might be a better choice. Also, your doctor can advise you if you have a different autoimmune disease. Not all autoimmune diseases form these inflammatory bumps (granulomas).

3) Can Sculptra be used along the jawline? 

It can be, but it would be an off-label FDA use (this is still legal). Also, in my opinion, you really don’t want a doctor or nurse injecting in areas where they don’t feel comfortable. Voluma might be a good option for you because it lasts approximately as long as Sculptra. Again, this would be an off-label use and you would want a very experienced, expert injector to do this.

Read more on my Guide to Sculptra here.

Hope this helps, Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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