Facial fillers have grown increasingly popular over the last few years as patients look for an inexpensive solution to their wrinkles and volume loss that don't involve surgery or much downtime. One of the drawbacks of these procedures, however, is the temporary nature of fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. Thankfully, a solution was found in SculptraAesthetic, an injectable that can last as long as 2 years.
Dr. Robert Burke, a cosmetic surgeon in Ann Arbor, MI, recently began offering SculptraAesthetic at his office and is very pleased with the results. He described for us the history behind the treatment, "Initially, it was FDA approved for lipo atrophy, which occurred in patients with HIV/AIDS. They used a certain dilution which resulted in a small complication of little nodules developing. I think this frightened a lot people because they didn't want to do the procedure and end up with a little nodule on their skin."
Actual SculptraAesthetic Results By Dr. Robert Burke
Dr. Burke says that this issue was resolved by making two important changes. "My good friend, Dr. Neil Sadick, one of the world's experts on SculptraAesthetic, has worked on the dilution and the real problem was twofold. Number one, it needed to be diluted a lot more, and number two, we needed to smooth it out at the time of the injection so that there wasn't an accumulation of too much in one area." The new approach is much safer and "[Dr. Sadick] says that he has never seen a nodule using this technique."
Also, Dr. Burke says they use a multi-plain injection technique which places the injection near the bone for deep volume and another below the dermis for wrinkle removal. "With this volume enhancement, I've seen results that are absolutely fantastic. I've got a patient - her before and after will absolutely knock your socks off."
Fat transfer procedures to the face have also grown in popularity and Dr. Burke also offers this procedure, but has found that for some of his more athletic patients, SculptraAesthetic is a better solution. In Dr. Burke's expansive experience of lipo transfer for volume deficiency, some patients simply do not have the fat elsewhere on their bodies to transfer to their faces. Furthermore, any fat transferred on these types of patients, some of which are runners and are very active, just gets metabolized by their bodies. This procedure offers these patients an option to fill out their faces without the fat transfer.
SculptraAesthetic can be used in other areas than the face. "Number one, it can be used for hand rejuvenation. It's a simple injection technique and you can take a lot of the aging off hands. It can be used in the decolletage area on women between their breasts. It can also be used in minor amounts for buttock augmentation."
Actual SculptraAesthetic Results By Dr. Robert Burke
Dr. Burke described which patients are the best candidates for SculptraAesthetic. "The ideal candidate for facial volume is somebody who is usually between 30-50; they're starting to get some hollowness under their eyes, some loss in their cheek and their nasolabial folds, maybe they're getting a little bit of a jowl. Part of that is just from the loss of volume so by injecting them early you reverse a lot of the signs of aging." There is also a chemical release that stimulates the skin to help it remain youthful.
SculptraAesthetic is also a great alternative for patients who want rejuvenation but want to avoid surgery. "Other candidates for this would be an older person who wants to have facial rejuvenation, but they don't want surgery - so what can you do? Fill in volume. Other potential patients are going to have surgery, but one of the problems with surgery is that sometimes the look isn't very pleasing. If they're pulled too tight, they just don't look natural. So you could add volume to get them ready to then tighten their skin," says Dr. Burke.
The cost of SculptraAesthetic varies depending on the treatment area. "For the nasal labial fold, you would be talking $800 to start. For hand rejuvenation the starting price is $800 per hand, and this can last 2 years or longer. Now they say two years is a ballpark but some people have had cases where it's lasted 6 plus years. Sometimes, you may need to do a touch up in order to boost its lasting ability and everybody's going to be different, but this lasts on an average far longer than normal injectables."
Dr. Burke describes what changes in the face with aging. "There are a couple different changes that occur as one ages. Number one, they lose volume in their temporal area, a little hollowness there. Their eyebrow droops down - a little bit less volume. They lose some volume along their mid face area and their nasal labial fold becomes prominent. They lose a little volume along the jaw, just in front of their ear. Typically we do deeper injections lateral to the eyebrow, along the muscle, underneath the eye area, along the lower jaw and then from the ear, and then you do more superficial injections at a higher level in order to even out the tissue."
Overall, Dr. Burke is very impressed with the duration of the results from SculptraAesthetic. "The beauty of this is its longevity. Fillers on an average last not as long as this. Some fillers may be pretty much gone in 3-4 months, some in 6 months, some may last a year, but on the average this can last up to two years or more. Some case reports have been in some areas that this can last up to six years."