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Sculptra is composed of poly-L-lactic acid, a synthetic material that is biocompatible (doesn't harm the body) and biodegradable (able to be broken down by the body). Because of these characteristics, poly-L-lactic has also been effectively used for many years in dissolvable stitches, soft tissue implants, and other surgical products.
Sculptra increases skin thickness by stimulating the production of collagen (the protein fiber that gives skin its structure), thus creating more natural contours for people who have experienced a loss of facial fat (lipoatrophy). In addition to smoothing out wrinkles and folds in the skin, it gives the appearance of "lifting" sunken cheeks. It is suitable for certain patients hence the importance of the initial consultation with an experienced and well trained physician.
Sculptra has received the Food and Drug Administration's approval for the restoration of facial fat in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
No skin allergy test is required for Sculptra. Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic and a topical or local anesthetic will be administered before treatment. Injections of the filler will be made with a very fine needle. The number of injections will depend on the size of the area being treated. At the end of the treatment, an ice pack will be applied to your skin to reduce swelling, and the treated area will be massaged to evenly distribute the filler.
Some redness, swelling, pain and/or bruising usually occurs after treatment. Sculptra's side effects may last from a few hours to a few days. Ice and over-the-counter pain medications can help reduce any discomfort. Some people develop small nodules (lumps) under the skin in the treated area, usually these are not visible.
Sculptra's positive effects on the skin are not apparent immediately. You should start to see improvement, however, within several weeks. If you've experience severe facial fat loss, you may need 3-5 treatment sessions. Results typically last for up to 2 years.