Differences of Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra in Time of Results, Predictability and Treatment Areas

Author: Amiya Prasad, M.D.

Thank you for your question. You’re asking what’s the difference between Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra. And I suspect the reason you’re asking these questions is because essentially you’re looking at some overlap in results and so you’re wondering what are these two products and what really makes one different from the other. Well, I can certainly share with you how I educate my patients who ask a similar question in my practice. A little bit of background, I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

I have been in practice in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years. And injectable fillers is a big part of what I do and I’m quite familiar with both fillers so I can certainly help you understand the difference and how I approach the use of these fillers in my practice. And this is specifically my approach.

It doesn’t mean that the way other people work is wrong but this is how I do it. So to begin with, let’s talk about what the first basic medical or chemical structural differences between the two without getting unnecessarily technical. So Juvederm Voluma falls in the category of fillers that are referred to as hyaluronic acid fillers.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that’s found in our body and it comes in a wide range of different thicknesses and compositions and major companies such as Galderma as well as Allergan and Merz have Juvederm products or I should say hyaluronic acid products. Now Juvederm specifically has a clearance by the FDA or approval that is for mid-facial volume correction. That approval doesn’t actually mean that’s the only place doctors could use it but that’s the only place that the company, Allergan, companies can only actually promote specific indications based on FDA approval. FDA regulates drugs and devices and companies can do promotional activities specific to those indications. But physicians practice medicine and can do what is referred to as off label but it can actually use any material in a way they feel that’s best for the patient. So Juvederm Voluma can be used in different places by physicians. Now what Juvederm Voluma and other HA fillers, hyaluronic acid filler can do is restore volume and what you get is a certain immediacy with a filler like that.

Differences of Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra in Time of Results, Predictability and Treatment Areas

When you place it, you see the correction and you see it immediately. And you know pretty much how much of a correction you’re going to get. Now when you talk about a material like Sculptra, Sculptra comes as a powder and is mixed with saline and the chemical name for it is called poly-l-lactic acid. What makes Sculptra very different from a hyaluronic acid filler is that when it’s injected, it depends on your body’s response to generate a certain amount of volume correction. Now the way I look at it, Sculptra is more about being a filler for more diffuse areas of filling.

So typically, it’s in the hollows of the cheeks. When someone is very hollow, that’s a place I would consider using Sculptra. Sculptra was initially, I should say, used to help people with HIV lipodystrophy. This is the result of people who are HIV positive who are taking antiviral drugs to help them manage their disease or manage their condition and unfortunately, it resulted in incredible amounts of fat loss in the face.

And so Sculptra was incredibly effective in helping people look better and restore some volume. So when it came to the market, it was a bit of a challenge because people had this unfortunate tendency to develop some nodules and other things with the body’s response but that was more of the technical elements of placement. But going now to the present, to make this decision, I basically look at it in the way I find the most predictable for me. When I want to specifically treat areas such as the cheekbones, the jawline, the chin, the jaw angle, a technique we call structural volumizing, I find Juvederm Voluma to be very useful. It is very effective, works very well. The same goes for Juvederm Ultra Plus. I find that these materials have a certain thickness and I can see the correction and the patient can see the results immediately. I would not use Sculptra for those areas because of a variety of reasons but one of which is I can’t predict how much volume there will be when the material actually initiates this collagen response.

It actually takes a few weeks to see the full response. And so in a Sculptra patient, we see them after a month to see how much correction they could and then decide if they need more vials of Sculptra in order to get more correction. With someone who I place Juvederm or Juvederm Ultra Plus or Juvederm Voluma, I place it and I usually see them after 2 weeks and I see if there’s any enhancement that would be of benefit. So I think that and just speaking from my practice, I generally use Juvederm Voluma considerably more often than I use Sculptra. I think for my kind of practice where I deal with a lot of facial aging issues and volume loss that is related to bone structure or relative bone deficit in people who are a little bit younger or volume loss with people who are 40 and older, we end up using a lot more Voluma and hyaluronic acids in our practice.

So understanding that there are two different methods of correction and two different areas that, in my opinion, are best suited for these materials. And certainly, there can be some degree of overlap particularly in the soft tissue correction area. You can put Sculptra in the soft tissue of the cheek and then allow it increase and then get a nice correction and it can certainly last a significant amount of time but I think in the modern world and in the practice of mine, the immediacy of the result and the longevity of benefit, for me, I end up using a lot more Juvederm Voluma. So I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for your question.

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