Q: Dr. Eppley, you have written that the collagen stimulated by the Sculptra injections disappears once the Sculptra crystals are all gone. Since the effects of Sculptra last on average 2 years, your implication is that the crystals remain on the face for up to 2 years. However, in almost every piece of literature/opinions, I have read that the actual Sculptra dissolves entirely within a few months, leaving behind new collagen. If this is true, then logically this collagen would dissipate no quicker than regular (non-Sculptra stimulated) collagen. Is what I have read incorrect? Are you saying that Sculptra stimulated collagen dissipates faster than our natural collagen? I hope that your theory is correct because I received 2 treatments 2 years ago. I am 26 and underweight and my face is fuller than ever. It’s very upsetting to me. I’m hoping that it’s true that there are still crystals inside my face and that’s why it’s still overstuffed.
A: Any discussion I have ever had on Sculptra is based on the known chemistry of its poly-lactic acid (PLA) particles…which are the crystals to which we both refer. PLA is a very slowly resorbing polymer that often can take up to a year or longer. Most commonly they persist for 9 to 15 months based on the variable resorption patterns amongst different patients although particle resorption may take longer than that in some individuals. The effect of Sculptra comes from the laying down of scar (collagen) around the particles. As the particles are eventually resorbed, the collagen produced will eventually go away as well in most patients. This collagen resorption follows by months after the particles are resorbed. It may also be possible in a few patients that the collagen scar effect may not dissipate although this is very uncommon.
Dr. Barry Eppley