Sculptra: Round 1 From A Doctor and Patient Perspective

Sculptra: Round 1 from a Doctor and Patient Perspective is the first in a series of posts where I share my personal experience with sculptra from beginning to end.

My friend and dermatologist Jo Herzog, spends a great deal of time educating patients on various options for rejuvenating aging skin. One of the most unique and powerful tools in the cosmetics industry is Galderma’s sculptra aesthetic, the first injectable filler to give subtle results over time.

Dr. Jo routinely holds events for Galderma in which she educates patients on sculptra. Since she is a guest contributor for Family Savvy, she has decided to do an educational series in blog form. Since my 50-year-old face is prime for sculptra (and since I have no inhibitions about showing my scary face on the blog:-), Dr. Jo will use my face for the process.

Since Sculptra is administered in a series of injections spaced over a period of several weeks, posts will be released for each treament.  This post shares information about treatment #1.

Sculptra Treatment 1 ~ Dr. Jo Herzog

Dr. JoSeveral weeks ago, Jamie and I met and talked about what she could do to have a more rested, youthful appearance. We looked at her face together and made some observations. Jamie has lost volume, especially in her temples and the mid-face. Replacing this volume would make her face more voluminous and take away the tired, sagging look that she was beginning to see. Pulling up from the cheeks would eradicate or soften lines that have been forming that cause her to look worn.

After considering options and deciding that what she needed most was quite a bit of volume in several areas, we came to the conclusion that sculptra would be the best filler to fit the bill. After I explained to Jamie how sculptra is different from many fillers–it takes longer to achieve immediate results but lasts longer in the end–she chose to give it a try.

Sculptra is a filler that gives you volume over time. It is injected in several sessions, and after several weeks, the material expands, imparts volume, and stimulates the formation of one’s own collagen. This filler is usually done in a stepwise fashion so that we can build on the results of the last visit.

As I have said in previous posts about fillers, sculptra is not the filler to choose for instant gratification or for an event that is a few weeks away. It is slower in achieving desired results but lasts longer than most fillers. Sculptra is unique in that it builds collagen and lasts at least two years in most patients; no other filler does both. For those who needs LOTS of volume in the face, sculptra is the best bargain.

Sculptra treatments are not all done in one day. The average number of visits that it takes for me to achieve optimal results in most patients is three, but I have patients that do well with one visit and those that need up to four or five sessions.

The process does not take terribly long. Once the patient is settled into a room, the area is numbed with a topical cream anesthetic, and many patients also choose to numb with ice. The procedure is a bit uncomfortable, but I would not classify it as painful. The main complication for me was bruising. I always bruise during any procedure; however, many patients do not.

After the procedure, the patient needs to follow what I call the 5-5-5 formula. The face should be massaged 5 times a day for 5 minutes for at least 5 days.  Massage helps keep the sculptra dispersed in the face until it “sets.” Massage is the best way to prevent nodule formation, which was the major side effect of sculptra many years ago. Massage, combined with a new way of mixing the product, has largely prevented nodules from forming in most sculptra that is injected today.

sculptra: what to expect and how it works~a doctor and patient perspective

The photo at left is the “before” photo that we can use to see the changes that take place over time. After all of the sculptra injections, I will place the photos side by side so that the full effect can be seen.

If you want to see how Jamie’s first round of injections went, you can watch the video below. Pay attention to the side of the face that is being injected and compare it to the other side. Keep your eye on the right cheek and see how it changes throughout the video. Remember, this is the first session, so results will be subtle. You will begin to see more as we progress with subsequent treatments.

Be well and have a good week,

Dr. Jo


Sculptra Treatment 1~Jamie

sculptra what to expectPrep: I arrived at Dr. Jo’s office at 7:45 to prep for the injections. Jo’s wonderful nurse Shannon cleaned my face with a sterile cloth, applied a topical numbing cream, and gave me a bag of frozen green peas to ice and numb my face.  Jo came in an out to check on me while I was “numbing,” and after about 15 minutes came in to do the treatment.

Injections: Dr. Jo injected the filler in all the areas needed~temples, cheeks, chin, etc…..The pain factor was very minimal. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being most painful, I would give the injections a 2. In fact, I would describe the injections as uncomfortable more than painful. The needles are very small, and the whole process took less than 10 minutes. After Jo injected each area of the face, her sweet nurse Shannon massaged the areas to ensure even distribution of the filler (ie no lumps).

Post injections: I experienced a bit of jaw stiffness the afternoon of the injections, similar to TMJ pain. For a few hours, I couldn’t open my mouth very wide, but this all subsided by the next day. I developed bruises underneath my chin and on my cheeks, but by day 4, the bruising was barely noticeable. I used BruiseGuard, which is designed to shorten bruising after procedures.  I typically have bruising for a full week, but this time the bruising was gone after 4 days. The only variable this time was the Bruise Guard, so I will be using this for future treatments.

The immediate results of the filler lasted for several days but are gone now. We will be checking back in when we start treatment 2.

If you have any questions for Dr. Jo or for me, we are more than happy to answer them! You can post questions in the comments of the post and look for the answers (which are typically the same day). Thanks so much for following along and for visiting my site. As always, be blessed, and stay savvy!!!