A Q&A with Dr Munir Somji on the collagen-stimulating injectable making waves in the UK market
A common skin concern in patients of the 39-45-year-old bracket is matching the way they look with the way they feel.
As skin ages, the natural loss of collagen leads to thinner and structurally weakened skin. Poly-L-lactic acid dermal fillers like Sculptra activate the body’s natural ability to produce collagen, restoring the skin’s structure and renewing its natural firmness.
When choosing a treatment, patients find long-lasting results more important than how quickly they appear.
In this week’s 15-minute fix, acting editor and content manager of the Aesthetics journal Shannon Kilgariff spoke to aesthetic practitioner Dr Munir Somji about why he enjoys using Sculptra with his patients.
How long have you been using Sculptra?
I’ve been using Sculptra for 10 years now. There’s been a vast change in the way Sculptra has been used within my patients over the years.
Why did you choose to use Sculptra in your clinic?
I was using it in the NHS for one of my placements – we were using it for HIV atrophy patients. So, it’s got a long history and an even longer one than in medical use, not just for aesthetics. Sculptra is made of poly-L-lactic acid and has been used in various different specialties. The safety rating is quite high given its history, and we also have a large bank of evidence and safety data to show this.
What does it offer to patients that’s different from other injectables?
It’s completely different to what you see at the moment in terms of botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. Instead, what you get with Sculptra is an all-round benefit! Depending on the depth of injection, such as the deeper injection within the fat node, you can achieve some subtle volume increase. If you are injecting in the sub-dermal department, you can also get some collagen stimulation as well as skin tightness within that region. Histological studies show a statistically significant increase in type one and type two collagen and that delivers long-lasting results over time which in comparison to others, for example hyaluronic acid products, you don’t achieve.
Who do you treat with Sculptra and what kind of results have you been getting?
Well, you can treat anyone with Sculptra and there are various indications. Firstly, you need to identify where the issue is. For example, if it’s volume loss, anybody with some volume loss who wants a subtle result can be injected with Sculptra. If you’ve got any form of skin laxity or any signs of photoageing, then Sculptra can be injected – it’s about categorising it. I don’t like to say ‘in this decade use this’ as everybody’s ageing is completely different. If you identify large areas of volume loss, for instance, and the patient doesn’t want to invest in multiple syringes of hyaluronic acid and doesn’t want to see you often, or just want to see you once a year for a top up, then Sculptra is going to match both expectations.
What has the feedback been like from patients?
The feedback has been very positive once we explain to patients how Sculptra works – it’s not an immediate result. Results slowly improve over time, but the key point is that it sustains results even at 25 months’ post-treatment and this makes it very different from any other injectable at the moment.
What would you say to a colleague who might be considering bringing Sculptra into their portfolio?
My advice to all the training we offer here at Galderma is to understand the product first and the protocols because if you know how to inject the product safely, then you’ll be happy and can sleep soundly whilst your patient will be happy too. Go in with a clear mind and absorb the new protocols that Galderma have enforced.
How does Sculptra fit in with your portfolio of injectables?
It’s changed dramatically over the last four years because now I look at a patient and I talk about filler fatigue. Filler fatigue can be two different things, using filler and the problem of skin laxity. You should either be using energy-based devices or something that stimulates collagen. If you don’t have any energy-based devices in your clinic, then Sculptra can fill that void for you.
The other part of filler fatigue are patients starting to have hyaluronic acid fillers a lot younger. What are they going to look like in 10-15 years? Are they going to look a little puffier? Recent ultrasounds that we have in the clinic are showing filler lasting for more than 10 years, even patients that I’ve injected I’ve been surprised seeing it in the ultrasounds. We’ve got to really start being a little bit more careful in terms of saying ‘well, hyaluronic acid is fantastic for soft tissue corrections in specific areas, but if we have other tools in our closet then actually yes, we should use it’. If someone’s got skin laxity or wide areas of volume loss then Sculptra should be used, and maybe hyaluronic acid should be used as a mixture to perfect different things.
How do you go about booking Sculptra training and where can you purchase the product?
Galderma offer the Galderma Aesthetic Injecting Network (GAIN) which has a mix of face-to-face injection technique coaching as well as ongoing support. Throughout lockdown, I was doing a few training sessions online for potential injectors of Sculptra and now we’re seeing them in person. It’s the best way to learn, to absorb everything, and then take this back to your practice.
As soon as you start talking to your patients, my advice is to start discussing Sculptra. As a trial on an everyday basis, say ‘Hey, this is what this is. This is something that will complement my current injectable practice and will enhance your results’. See the feedback, you will realise that approximately one in every three patients will say ‘actually, I like the sound of that’.
If you are interested in trying Sculptra in your clinic, then contact Galderma. Galderma’s preferred provider is Med-fx. Also, don’t miss out on Galderma’s offer of 15% off Sculptra from November 1-27.
This article was created as part of Galderma’s social takeover in November. Go to our Instagram to watch the interview!
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