What’s the Difference Between Sculptra & Fillers?


By now you have probably heard about Sculptra, an injectable treatment that stimulates natural collagen production. While this product has become a popular “new” treatment on social media, it’s actually been around since 1999! 

There are many questions we get at Elite Medical and Aesthetics about the differences between Sculptra and fillers, and this blog will help break down those differences and cover additional common questions. 😊 

Table of Contents

How is Sculptra different than fillers?

The main difference between Sculptra and hyaluronic acid (HA) based fillers is that Sculptra stimulates the production of natural collagen. Sculptra is an FDA approved injectable that replaces lost collagen for up to 2-4 years, making it a more natural treatment that dermal fillers. 

A more definitive breakdown of the two injectables is explained below 👇 

  • Traditional HA fillers are made of a smooth, gel-like substance called hyaluronic acid. Once this is injected into the desired area, there is an instant change in volume restoration after one treatment. HA fillers last around 10-12 months depending on the product and person and CAN be dissolved.
  • Sculptra, on the other hand, is made of Poly-L Lactic Acid (PLLA) that works to stimulate the body’s own natural collagen. Results are shown over a period of time and a series of treatments, rather than instantly. Results typically last 2-4 years and it CANNOT be dissolved.

Does Sculptra last longer than fillers?

Yes, Sculptra does last longer than fillers! As mentioned, Sculptra is made of PLLA, which is the same material sutures are made from for surgical stitching. PLLA stimulates collagen and elastin production. Overall, most people enjoy results around 2 years, and some up to 4 years. Whereas HA fillers, are metabolized over a 10-12 month time frame, depending on the filler product used. However, keep in mind that Sculptra injections do require a series of treatments, and HA filler results are typically immediate after one treatment.

Is Sculptra more expensive than fillers?

Per vial, Sculptra is priced similar to a syringe of filler (around $800 for a single vial). Keep in mind though, it does take an average of 3 treatments, and the number of vials needed is determined in a consultation prior to the treatment.

Overall, this does make Sculptra more expensive than HA fillers, but the results last longer than HA fillers typically. 

  • Note: injectable treatments like filler and Sculptra are an investment, especially when seeing a licensed and trained provider. “You get what you pay for” when it comes to treatments like these. Rest assured at Elite, we offer Cherry Payment Plans and Elite Wallet to help with budgeting. Learn more below 👇 

Is Sculptra safer than fillers?

There is not enough published evidence to prove that Sculptra is any safer than HA fillers. However, there is a theoretical decreased risk of vascular occlusion since Sculptra is more liquid than fillers. Dr. David Saadat said at a 2022 training in Valencia, CA that you can “put Sculptra anywhere” and “cannot occlude a vessel with it because it is a liquid” (when it is mixed correctly). A review of the literature does show cases of vascular occlusion but we cannot know how it was mixed. Infection, pain, swelling and bruising are always a risk any time you puncture the skin.  

So, basically all injectable treatments come with risks and potential side effects. It is important to go to a medically trained and licensed injector to ensure that your safety is top priority, regardless of the treatment/product is being administered. 

Does Sculptra treat different areas that filler can't?

Sculptra treats many of the facial areas that filler can with the exception of the lips and close to the eyes. See image for a visual on where Sculptra is most commonly injected.

There are a few areas on the body that Sculptra can treat as well, including:

  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Upper arms

Is Sculptra permanent?

No, results from Sculptra are not permanent. While this injectable treatment has long-lasting results up to 2-4 years, the PLLA is still metabolized by the body over time. However, the production of collagen is natural and lasting, but keep in mind as we age we continue to lose collagen and elastin in our skin (hence, why this is a great anti-aging treatment 😉).

  • At EMA, we recommend talking to a provider about your aesthetic goals and concerns to ensure you are on a customized treatment plan best for you!

Which is better, Sculptra or Radiesse?

Which injectable is “better” for YOU is a question that should be discussed with your provider during a consultation, because some people are better candidates for different injectables. However, the main differences between Radiesse and Sculptra are:


  • Provides instant volume in a single treatment when used at full strength
  • Can also be used diluted and used as a collagen stimulator similar to Sculptra
  • Produces collagen by acting like a bridge of minerals (calcium hydroxylapetite based)
  • Produces natural appearing results


  • Simply a stimulator for collagen production (takes up to 3 sessions for visible results)
  • Does not provide instant volume, but build’s the body’s own collagen
  • Produces collagen through an inflammatory process
  • Stimulates collagen using PLLA (the same material sutures are made of)
  • Produces natural appearing results

Sculptra and Radiesse are both considered advanced injectables and require specialized training to prevent side effects such as lumps, bumps, and inflammatory nodules. 

Again, it is best to consult with a provider to see which kind of injectable treatment is best suited for your anatomy, goals, budget, and time frame. Our providers take the time to assess and get to know clients on a more personal level, in order to provide the best treatment plan and provide explanations. 

Is Sculptra the best filler option?

Sculptra is a great injectable option for many people, however knowing if it is the best option for you is determined with your provider! It is important to learn about the various treatment options suitable for your concerns and goals, risk factors, what to expect, and ask as many questions possible! 

We pride ourselves on our thorough consultations where we put “people over profits” and genuinely help you decide what treatment is best for you, even if it’s no treatment at all!

Book a consult below to talk with one of our providers:

Elite Medical & Aesthetics is a premier med spa located in Lone Tree, CO that takes a holistic approach to natural results. We pride ourselves in having an all nursing staff of NP’s that put safety as #1 priority.

Book a Consult

Talk with one of our providers about Sculptra