A. The actual microscopic particles of poly-L- Lactic acid are broken down by the body over several weeks- months. The collagen that the PLLA stimulates, however, seems to provide cosmetic benefits that last 2 years. Remember, it takes 2-4 sessions and 2-6 vials over one year to get the full effect.
Q. I have heard about accidental injections of filler into blood vessels causing complications. How can that be prevented?
A. Vascular occlusion or compression is the most feared side adverse event that filler injections can cause. While no filler is immune from this side effect, Sculptra is the lowest risk choice. Since it is so liquidy, the reflux maneuver the doctor performs prior to injection is more accurate to identify when the needle is in a blood vessel. Secondly, since Sculptra is not a gel filler and causes little inflammation hours after injection, blood vessels would not be as likely to get compressed.
Q. Are there any added risks if Sculptra is reconstituted 2 weeks before injection?
A. If sterile bacteriostatic water was used to reconstitute the poly-L-lactic acid of Sculptra, there is no danger. In fact, I believe there are better results if the Sculptra is mixed AT LEAST 2 days in advance rather than the 2 hours on the package insert. I think fewer lumps occur if the material is well hydrated.
Q. I am hearing more about Sculptra and gradual improvement. How long does it take to be noticed and how long do results last?
A. Sculptra, in my opinion, is more of a collagen stimulating device rather than a filler. The results are seen gradually over 4-7 months and the final result lasts 24 months in most patients. After that time, since the aging process has continued, more is needed to maintain. Sculptra is poly-L-lactic acid suspended in sterile water. Most patients need 3 sessions and 3-6 vials. I have seen patients need one 1-2 vial over just 1-2 visits, but this is not the norm. I can give you a better ballpark at consultation since everyone is unique. I do not like to use more than 6 vials in any 12 month period in healthy, immune competent patients.
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