Patients often ask what they can do to help improve their appearance as they age. I explain that loss of facial volume over time contributes greatly to an aged appearance, and the restoration of lost facial volume can be dramatic in changing a person’s appearance in a powerful yet natural way.
One of the products I enjoy using when helping restore my patients lost volume is called Sculptra®. Invariably, when patients research Sculptra® on the Internet, they return with questions about lumps, which have occurred in the past with Sculptra®. I’d like to address that issue head-on for those of you who have similar questions.
Why Lumps Form
First, it’s important to understand the way Sculptra® works and how “lumps” form.
Sculptra® is a form of a very safe suture material which has been used for many years without problems. When Sculptra® is placed beneath the skin, the body finds it and breaks it down, creating new collagen in the process. The goal of using Sculptra® is to get a person’s own collagen to build itself in the areas where Sculptra® was injected.
Sculptra® is a fine powder. When Sculptra® was first used to build collagen in people needing significant restoration of facial volume, it was suspended in a certain volume of water, and this water suspension was then injected into the areas of the face needing facial volume.
Early on, the thought was to concentrate the greatest amount of Sculptra® in the least amount of fluid to get a “robust” healing and collagen deposition response. Yet by concentrating so much Sculptra® in a small area, the new collagen was also concentrated in a small area, and this lead to visible and palpable (or touchable) collagen lumps.
Since those early days, the procedure has changed, and now we suspend the Sculptra® in a much greater amount of water. In addition, Sculptra® is used in deeper facial areas and is massaged after application for a few days. This allows the collagen to reform as a gentle, deep sheet as opposed to a focal lump. These natural sheets of new collagen create a beautiful rejuvenation that is powerful yet subtle at the same time, as you can see in the pictures below:
In the End
So while Sculptra® does have a history of forming collagen in small areas, these “lumps” are just that: history—namely, in the past. An experienced injector who uses current techniques of diluting the product properly, injecting it carefully and massaging the product afterwards, makes the possibility of lumps unlikely—and the possibility of a beautiful natural rejuvenation very likely.