The Liquid Facelift
Collagen-stimulating facial injections – Sculptra™
Sculptra™ is a long-lasting, clinically-proven, non-invasive injectable treatment that stimulates your body’s capacity to generate new collagen.
Sculptra™ is designed to smooth out and soften lines and wrinkles, restoring volume and contouring to your face in a natural way.
With its gradual results, it’s considered the more discreet approach to achieving a fresher, younger-looking appearance.
Sculptra™ is effective for treating:
- lines, wrinkles and folds
- nasolabial folds (lines between the nose and mouth)
- drooping corners of the mouth
- sunken cheeks
- recessed or hollowed temples
- jowl laxity
- thinning skin
- ageing hands
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Sculptra™ at Skin Excellence Clinics
Dr Ian Strawford was one of the first practitioners in the UK to start using Sculptra, more than 10 years ago.
He has performed many treatments since that time, in response to increasing demand from patients who have seen the benefits of using their own collagen to restore volume, thickness and elasticity in the skin.
He is a leading authority in combining collagen-stimulating treatments, such as Sculptra, with Silhouette Soft thread lifts to achieve results comparable to a ‘surgical facelift’. He is often asked to provide training for other doctors in the UK and abroad, in the use of his combined treatment techniques, and continues to attend international educational seminars and ongoing training in Sculptra.
As a bio-stimulating, collagen-replenishing treatment, Sculptra works differently from traditional fillers.
By helping your body to replenish its own facial collagen, it gradually and naturally gives long-lasting results for up to 3 or 4 years after the treatment. Scientific studies have shown that 80% of patients still rated their results as “good to excellent” at 25 months following treatment.
The main ingredient of Sculptra™ is poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which has been successfully used in surgical operations for more than 25 years as sutures and prostheses.
Sculptra™ is long lasting, biocompatible, and biodegradable. Its use in cosmetic treatments was first pioneered in the NHS and is still used to treat lipoatrophy (fat loss) in HIV patients, and patients with congenital facial deformities and scarring following trauma or burns.
Will Sculptra™ work for me?
Sculptra™ is a suitable treatment for men and women, when changes associated with ageing start to become apparent.
If you are in your late 20s, the natural production of collagen in your body has already started to slow down. Smoking and over-exposure to UV light can further affect your body’s ability to produce new collagen. This may be a good time to start Sculptra treatments, if you are noticing signs of volume loss in your face. You will probably only need small amounts of the product to keep your collagen reserves active, maybe just one or two treatments to achieve results that last for 3 to 4 years.
If you are in your 30s or 40s, collagen-loss in your skin may start to be more noticeable. You may already see loss of facial fat, which results in increasing skin laxity and the development of lines and wrinkles, flattening of the cheeks, hollows under the eyes and hollowing at the temples. Sculptra™ can prevent you developing a tired or unhealthy appearance as you get older, as your face changes shape due to ageing. As a ‘whole face’ treatment, it helps to reduce the signs of ageing by gradually and naturally restoring lost volume, improving the thickness and elasticity of your skin. Combined with Silhouette Soft thread lifting, it can be the ideal solution to laxity in the lower face that leads to jowls and downturned corners of the mouth.
If you aged 50 or more, you will have increasing skin laxity as a result of volume loss and thinning of the skin. We can address these inevitable signs of ageing with a combination treatment of Sculptra™ and Silhouette Soft thread lifts. This ‘natural collagen facelift’ is ideal if you want to achieve similar results to a surgical facelift but avoid the significant risks and prolonged recovery time associated with surgery.
What does Sculptra™ treatment involve?
Before the treatment
During your initial consultation, Dr Strawford will assess the degree of volume loss and skin laxity in your face, to advise you on the most suitable treatment to achieve your desired goals. He will also advise you on any lifestyle and other factors that may be relevant – such as smoking and the use of medically-active skin care products – to enhance your response to the treatment.
You will be shown before and after photographs of patients he has treated, and he will take photographs of your face to help monitor your progress and response to the treatment.
It can be helpful to bring to the consultation any photos of yourself taken 10 to 15 years earlier. We will aim to restore and enhance rather than change your features, to make sure the results are a softer, more natural appearance.
During and after the treatment
At the start of the treatment session, we apply a topical anaesthetic cream to your skin at the site of the injection.
When this has taken effect, we then inject the PLLA product, up to 20mls of fluid per session, into the areas of your face that need treating.
After the injection, Dr Strawford will show you how to thoroughly massage the treated areas. You will need to massage the area for 10 minutes, twice a day, until your next treatment session.
Massaging the treated area makes sure that the Sculptra is evenly distributed in the deep tissues. It is also essential for helping to stimulate the fibroblasts that produce new collagen in response to the Sculptra.
How long does the treatment take?
Each treatment session takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
Is the treatment painful?
Sculptra™ treatment should not be painful. As well as the topical anaesthetic cream, the Sculptra™ product injected into your skin contains the local anaesthetic lidocaine (2%).
The procedure is therefore relatively pain-free and is usually well tolerated by patients.
Is there any downtime following treatment?
There will be some puffiness or swelling in the treated area, but this should disappear within 24hrs. You may also have some bruising, but this is less common and usually resolves within a week (and can easily be covered by makeup in most cases).
Most patients return to work or normal activities a day after the treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
To achieve the ideal results with Sculptra, we recommend a course of three treatments, 4 to 6 weeks apart. Most patients only need one vial of the product per decade.
When will I see the benefits?
Sculptra™ is a biostimulatory agent, which means it stimulates new collagen formation through a natural but gradual process.
The rate at which collagen is produced naturally varies from person to person, but most patients start to see some effects after 3 to 4 weeks. At the end of the course of treatment, most patients will see a significant improvement that continues over the following 3 to 6 months towards full correction.
This gradual change, leading to a softer, more refreshed youthful appearance – rather than the sudden change associated with traditional dermal filler treatments or surgery – is what makes Sculptra™ so popular.
How long do the results last?
Once full correction has been achieved, the results are long-lasting. Medical studies have shown that in most patients, results last for over 2 years, and for many patients up to 5 years. After this time, the full effects are gradually lost through the natural process of ageing.
Many patients who wish to preserve the benefits of the treatment return for a review and top up after 1 or 2 years. Usually just one treatment session is needed to maintain the full correction for another 2 years or more.
Are there any risks?
In capable hands, with the right training and experience, this is a very safe and effective procedure.
Over time, the technique has evolved to optimize the effects and reduce problems – such as temporary lumps or nodules that have been reported with Sculptra treatments in the past.
Dr Strawford, with his extensive experience of using Sculptra™, has had no cases of lumps or nodules reported over the 10-year period in which he has been regularly using this product.
What others areas of the body can Sculptra™ treat?
Sculptra™ can be used give a more youthful appearance to the skin on the backs of hands and the décolletage (upper chest and neck area), by reducing lines and wrinkles – often associated with ageing and excessive sun exposure – as well as restoring loss of volume and thickness in the skin.
How much does Sculptra™ treatment cost?
For Sculptra™ to be effective, we recommend a course of 3 treatments over a 3 to 4 month period.
A single vial treatment is £400, and treatment using 2 vials is £750 per session.
As a rough guide, most patients need 1 vial per decade. For example, a patient aged 40 needing 4 vials over 3 treatment sessions would pay £1900.
Although this may seem expensive, it is worth considering that the results of the treatment can last up to 3 to 4 years and conventional dermal filler treatments usually only last 1 year. By comparison, over the same period dermal filler treatments could work out to be a more expensive way to achieve the same results.
You can benefit from a 10% discount on Sculptra™ by booking a course of treatments in advance, and we offer regular payment plans to help spread the cost of our treatment packages. Please contact us for more details and to book your initial consultation with Dr Strawford.