Sculptra Receives FDA Approval for Cheek Wrinkles

Woman touching cheek after getting Sculptra injections by board-certified cosmetic surgeon

Sculptra® Aesthetic, the first poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) dermal filler used to restore natural-looking facial volume, has recently been granted FDA approval to treat fine lines and wrinkles throughout the cheek area. 

What is Sculptra? 

Sculptra is a biocompatible injectable made up of tiny particles of a synthetic polymer called poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), carboxymethylcellulose (USP), non-pyrogenic mannitol (USP), lidocaine, and sterile water. This dermal filler was first approved by the FDA in 2004 and has a long track record of safety and efficacy when used to correct signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) and to smooth nasolabial folds and other facial wrinkles. Scuptra can also improve skin quality.

How Sculptra works differently than hyaluronic acid-based fillers

Sculptra is distinct from other types of cheek fillers, such as hyaluronic acid-based Restylane Contour®: Once Sculptra is injected into the dermal layer, its main ingredient, poly-L-lactic acid (which resembles very small beads), is slowly and safely absorbed by the body. Instead of physically filling in wrinkles and fine lines, this process stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that increases skin firmness and elasticity.

As collagen production increases over the next 3-4 weeks, the skin’s volume in the treated area gradually improves, resulting in gradual restoration of facial volume and reduction in deep wrinkles and fine lines. Sculptra is considered a “biostimulator” or a “biostimulatory filler” because of this process.

Sculptra is commonly used to rebuild lost volume in the face and to correct nasolabial folds and deep wrinkles beside the mouth and nose. This filler is also used in off-label areas, such as the buttocks.

Why a patient may seek an alternative cheek filler

The more common hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers work by adding physical volume to instantly define and enhance natural facial features. In contrast, Sculptra’s initial effects are subtle, and results improve as the increased collagen production remodels the skin from below. Among the available non-surgical facial rejuvenation options, patients may prefer these more subtle results that can be achieved gradually, or may choose to use Sculptra in conjunction with another filler treatment. 

Patients may choose this cheek filler to:

  • Restore lost volume
  • Add volume to enhance the cheeks
  • Smooth wrinkles and fine lines
  • Improve skin texture and elasticity
  • Fine-tune facial proportions for a balanced appearance
  • Achieve a lifted, more youthful contour to the mid-face

Sculptra gradually promotes collagen production, an alternative facial rejuvenation approach to that of hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers.

How effective is Sculptra? 

Sculptra’s clinical studies showed that the dermal filler’s effects can persist for up to two years or longer in patients:

  • 90.0% were satisfied with their appearance at 6 months
  • 82% were satisfied with their appearance at 1 year 
  • 77% were satisfied with their appearance 2 years after their last treatment

Patients may need 1-4 treatment sessions, each spaced at least 3 weeks apart, to achieve optimal results. The final outcome will also be significantly influenced by the provider’s expertise, so it is crucial to consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who can assess your individual needs and determine the appropriate placement and number of treatments to meet your goals.

About the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) has been certifying skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeons who prioritize patient safety and satisfaction for over 40 years. Our surgeons are highly qualified to achieve natural-looking cosmetic outcomes using the latest, most advanced products and treatments, including Sculptra dermal filler. Patients can feel confident in achieving their aesthetic goals by choosing a board-certified cosmetic surgeon dedicated to providing the highest standards of care and satisfaction.

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