There is now significant demand in the use of Sculptra for nonsurgical butt lifts, which is quickly becoming a highly requested treatment. Cosmetic contouring of the buttocks is typically performed for enhancement purposes, or in some cases, to correct post-surgical irregularities. Previously, the only options for contouring the buttocks were surgical, with patients either receiving butt implants or Brazilian Butt Lifts (which is, fat grafting, whereby fat cells are harvested and injected into the buttocks).
Now, Sculptra provides patients with an alternative option to these surgical procedures. Generally, good candidates for this treatment include those with a low body mass index (and thus have minimal sources of autologous fat for a Brazilian Butt Lift), or who do not wish to get silicone implants.
What is Sculptra?
Sculptra is a semi-permanent injectable dermal filler made of poly-L-lactic acid with volumizing and collagen-boosting properties. It is a preparation consisting of poly-L-lactic acid microparticles with sodium carboxymethylcellulose, which acts as a suspending agent. Initially indicated for addressing severe facial lipoatrophy in patients with HIV, clinical use of Sculptra has expanded to facial rejuvenation for cosmetic reasons, and its use in non-facial areas (such as the buttocks) has been studied with increasing interest.
How does a Sculptra butt lift work?
Poly-L-lactic acid is a synthetic polymer of lactic acid and belongs in the alpha hydroxy acid family. Lactic acid polymers such as this one have long been used in medical products, including surgical pins, resorbable staples, and screws (among many other products). Sculptra provides soft tissue augmentation by inducing a foreign body cell reaction that occurs several weeks to months after injection. Moreover, Sculptra stimulates the body’s collagen production, causing increased volume and improved skin structure. The mechanism by which Sculptra increases tissue volume is important to note – unlike hyaluronic acid-based fillers, the results are not immediate. Rather, the effects of Sculptra will slowly and gradually appear as collagen is replaced in the body.
Sculptra butt lift procedure
There are technical aspects specific to Sculptra that should be considered prior to treatment. For starters, Sculptra is supplied as a freeze-dried powder in vials and must be reconstituted prior to injection. Reconstituting Sculptra properly is particularly important, in light of reports of undesired events, such as nodule formation, when Sculptra was not reconstituted in the recommended manner.
To minimize the risk of subcutaneous nodules, may practitioners follow this modification to the manufacturer’s instructions:
- Using an amount of diluent slightly higher than recommended by the manufacturer (5–10ml per vial as opposed to the recommended diluent volume of 5ml as directed by Galderma)
- Allowing a minimum of 12 hours to pass between reconstitution and treatment for complete reconstitution of the product
- The addition of local anesthetic (such as 1% lidocaine)
- To inject Sculptra into the subcutaneous plane rather than the recommended intradermal layer
The other important treatment element to consider is the injection technique. Unlike other fillers, a tunneling technique is recommended for the administration of Sculptra, whereby a thin trail of filler is placed by retrograde injection while withdrawing the needle.
The recommended dose of Sculptra for gluteal augmentation is 12ml (5ml sterile water for injection, 7ml lidocaine HCL 1%, and 367.5mg of Sculptra), which is equivalent to one vial per buttock. Use a tunneling technique to administer the filler into the subcutaneous layer with a 1.5”, 25-gauge needle or a cannula.
The tunneling technique entails stretching the skin taut opposite to the direction of the injection, then inserting the needle to the skin at a 30–40° angle until the deep dermal subcutaneous plane is reached.
Next, the needle angle should be lowered and then advanced along this same level. After treatment, the patient should be provided specific post-treatment care instructions, including to massage the treated area for five minutes, five times per day, for five days after the injection session, to apply ice to the treatment area to minimize swelling, and to avoid excessive sun and UV lamp exposure until all swelling and redness have diminished. The patient should then be reevaluated at six weeks post-treatment to assess the need for further treatment. Typically, three to four sessions will be necessary to achieve the desired effect.
Typically, the final results of treatment with Sculptra are not as obvious as the effects provided by surgical options. Patients will usually see a subtle enhancement in contour and shape, rather than a completely different look. This makes this treatment ideal for those patients looking for natural and reversible results. As with all cosmetic procedures, it is important that each patient be evaluated individually. With minimal downtime and a lower risk of complications when compared to traditional surgical alternatives, it is little wonder that Scupltra is becoming very popular in the realm of body contouring.