Sculptra is a synthetic injectable material known as “poly-L-lactic acid.” Poly-L-lactic acid is biocompatible (a material that does not harm the body) and biodegradable (able to be broken down by the body). Poly-L-lactic acid has been widely used for many years in dissolvable stitches, soft tissue implants, and other types of implants.
As with any injection, injections with Sculptra may hurt. Sculptra is injected in small amounts using a very fine needle. Dr. Kaplan can apply a topical or local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
The most common side effects with the use of Sculptra include injection-related side effects at the site of the injection such as bleeding, tenderness or pain, redness, bruising, or swelling. These side effects generally last, on average, 3 to 17 days. One possible delayed side effect with Sculptra can be small bumps under the skin in the treated area. These small bumps may not be visible, and you may notice them only when you press on the treated skin. These bumps tend to happen within the first 6 to 12 months after the first treatment. Occasionally, these bumps go away on their own. Visible bumps, sometimes with redness or color change to the treated area, have also been reported. As with all procedures that involve an injection through the skin, there is a risk of infection.
Immediately following a treatment session with Sculptra, redness, swelling, pain, bruising or all of these signs can happen in the treatment area. These signs usually go away in a few hours to a few days. Within the first 24 hours after treatment, an ice pack should be applied for a few minutes at a time to the treatment area to help reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in a cloth and avoid putting ice directly on your skin. Avoid excessive sun and UV lamp exposure until any initial swelling and redness has resolved.