Sculptra® Aesthetic has been in use since 1999 and FDA-approved since 2004. The beauty of this “filler” is that it stimulates fibroblasts deep within the dermis to generate brand new collagen, elastin, and fibrin in treatment areas. Consequently, injectors are choosing Sculptra as a regenerative solution to facial and body contouring because it creates new building blocks of soft tissue to restructure treatment areas, improving the tone, texture, and appearance of the skin. For years it’s been used for facial rejuvenation, but physicians are using Sculptra to achieve a natural-looking butt lift.

What is Sculptra and is it Better than Hyaluronic Acid Filler?

Sculptra is poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) mixed with sterile water and lidocaine and used as a filler. PLLA is a bio-stimulatory, biocompatible and biodegradable polymer that initiates a reaction from fibroblasts within the dermis layers of the skin. Fibroblasts are cells that secrete collagen proteins, and we know that collagen is a critical component of age prevention and wellness. When Sculptra is injected, the PLLA gets absorbed into the dermis where it irritates the fibroblasts to respond by stimulating Type I collagen. Collagen production typically takes three to four months so while patients may notice changes as early as a month, they will not see the full results of their treatment for three months. Because Sculptra stimulates collagen, fibrin and elastin, results from the treatment last as long as the new tissue lasts.

Hyaluronic acid is primarily found in the skin, but it is also present in every part of the body. As we age, the hyaluronic acid in skin diminishes, reducing volume and suppleness which results in wrinkles and skin laxity. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers like Juvederm, which we love, are made of synthetic cross-linked hyaluronic acid molecules, which when injected, immediately restore volume and help hydrate the treatment area. However, hyaluronidase and free-radical cells in the body break the hyaluronic acid filler down. To maintain volume, patients should be treated with filler every three months to two years, depending on the type of filler and where it’s injected.
Patients often ask whether Sculptra is better than hyaluronic acid fillers and the short answer is that it depends on the end goal. Each filler is composed of completely different materials so comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

What Do You Treat with Sculptra?

Sculptra was initially developed to treat lipoatrophy of the face to restore volume in patients with HIV and AIDS. However, because it’s incredibly effective the aesthetic community adopted PLLA as part of an anti-aging protocol—everyone over the age of 35 wants more collagen! In the face, Sculptra eliminates hollows around the temples, helps define the chin and jawline, tightens skin, and adds volume to the midfacial region, improving the overall vitality of the skin. Face treatments typically require four vials of Sculptra and three treatment sessions. Two are injected during the first session, the third is injected 20 to 30 days later, and the fourth vial is injected after another 20 to 30 days.

Because it’s effective at generating new tissue, physicians and injectors use PLLA to improve structure, tone and texture in other areas of the body such as the décolletage, the upper pole region of the breasts, the pectoral area for men, above the knees and elbows, the calves, biceps, hip dips, and the butt.

For patients who want a more natural-looking buttock augmentation, Sculptra is an excellent, safe option that adds volume to the buttocks. PLLA is proven to shape, improve proportion and the projection of the butt. Contouring, lifting and smoothing away cellulite, it improves the tone and texture of the skin. It’s a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that is ideal for patients who don’t want to subject themselves to the risks associated with plastic surgery like the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), which uses fat transfers and fat grafting to augment the butt.

Problems with the Brazilian Butt Lift

So how did the Sculptra butt lift get to be so popular? The Brazilian Butt Lift. The BBL is one of the most in-demand procedures in the world! According to Google data, from January 2021 to May of 2021, “BBL” was searched 1 million times. Social media and reality TV have created a quest for the “Kardashian” booty. But achieving this look comes with a host of complications, especially for patients who prioritize cost over provider experience. The complications from BBL fat graphs can range from bruising and stretch marks to necrosis, fat embolisms, and death. In fact, the Brazilian Butt Lift currently has one of the highest mortality rates of surgical cosmetic procedures.
Because the BBL procedure is so new, there are no long-term studies that assess the longevity of the procedure. As patients age, will the fat migrate and cause the gluteal region to be misshapen and concave? In a New York Times article, Dr. Arthur W. Perry a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and New Jersey said,

“What happens to fat when you put a large amount of dead fat into the buttocks?” he said. “Because that’s what it is: Dead fat. We haven’t even begun to see the cosmetic disasters of people walking around with moonscape buttocks, [or] one cheek bigger than the other.”

After a host of deaths in 2017, a multi-society gluteal fat grafting task force was assembled in 2018 to urge surgeons to follow a standardized approach to treatment in effort to reduce poor outcomes from the procedure. Unfortunately, the demand for the BBL is so great that cheap “chop shops” have popped up all over the world. They attract patients with low prices and operate similar to an assembly line to capitalize on the demand. BBL surgery which requires patients to wear special garments, sleep on their stomach for 6-weeks and make major lifestyle adjustments as healing takes place.

For those who are not willing to subject themselves to the permanence of BBL surgery, Sculptra offers a safe, non-surgical solution that taps into the body’s ability to generate new tissue and improve the appearance of the butt without the risks.

Am I a Candidate for a Sculptra Butt Lift?

A Sculptra butt lift is for patients in good health who are able to maintain a stable weight. It’s important to have realistic expectations about the outcome of the treatment as a Sculptra butt lift will NOT produce the same results as a BBL. The procedure will shape, contour and lift the gluteal region. Patients can also expect skin tightening and improved tone. Providers inject 8 to 16 vials in the first session and another 8 to 16 in their second session. Because treatment is minimally invasive, there’s no downtime and there’s minimal discomfort.

At RejuvenationMD our physicians and nurses are trained in the most advanced Sculptra injection techniques which is critical for successful outcomes. If Sculptra is not prepared correctly, or if it’s injected too superficially, nodules and papules can form. For optimal results, we require patients to massage their treatment areas, for five minutes at a time, five times a day. Pre and post-care instructions are central to our treatment protocol. Our providers always call and check in with our patients after every treatment to answer questions, ensure patients are healing well, and that patients are following their aftercare guidelines.

To schedule a consultation with one of our providers, please email or call our office to speak with a patient care coordinator.

About RejuvenationMD

RejuvenationMD is the premier aesthetic skin treatment and wellness center in Washington’s North Sound. Our award-winning practice is home to 3 female physicians, an ARNP, a registered nurse, and a team of master estheticians and patient care coordinators. Learn more online at or call RejuvenationMD in Bellingham 360-685-8408 or Burlington 360-982-2620 today.

Aesthetic Skin Treatment