Sculptra - (FDA approved 8/2004)

    Sculptra, or poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), was approved by the FDA in 2004, for the treatment of facial fat loss (also called facial lipoatrophy).

    PLLA is injected into the skin in areas where fat has been lost. It causes the skin to thicken via a process called collagen neo-synthesis (the process of creating new collagen). It improves the appearance of folds and sunken areas, and replaces the fat loss. For most people who participated in PLLA clinical studies, the effects of treatment lasted for two years. It is usually given in a series of two to three treatments. Unlike the HAs the results are not immediate and may take many weeks to show effectiveness.

    The original side effects of Sculptra injections included the delayed appearance of small bumps (granulomas) under the skin in the treated area. Other side effects included bleeding, tenderness or discomfort, redness, bruising, and swelling. The newer technique of injecting more dilute Sculptra and frequent massage has reduced the incidence of palpable "bumps" to 1% or less.