Sculptra vs Radiesse - difference between the two?

For what are they used? Is one better than the other?

Sculptra and Radiesse are both popular FDA-approved dermal fillers used for non-surgical volume replacement and facial wrinkle reduction. You will sometimes hear them referred to as a "liquid facelift." Although both of these alternatives fall under the category of "injectable dermal fillers," their mechanism of action is very different from one another.

First, it's important to understand that most other dermal fillers are made with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance which our bodies produce to cushion and protect our joints and connective tissue. Hyaluronic acid fillers for lip enhancement or reduction of facial wrinkles are extremely popular, but most last just a few months before repeat injections are required.

Both Sculptra and Radiesse facial injections last for a much longer period than hyaluronic acid-based fillers, but each takes a different strategy:

Radiesse is often called a "semi-permanent filler" because its cosmetic benefits last anywhere from nine -18 months, and Radiesse lasts in the body for up to seven years. Radiesse can create immediate volume replacement and natural results in just one injection session. It's an excellent choice for areas where patients have thick skin folds like nasolabial folds, smile lines, marionette lines, or oral commissures.

The longer lasting results of Radiesse come with one caveat however: Radiesse can't be removed if you're not happy with the results. It's important to note that, when deciding between Radiesse vs. Juvederm or a hyaluronic acid filler, that you're making more of a long term decision with Radiesse.

Sculptra treatment takes a very different strategy to other dermal filler treatments. Sculptra uses a different filler material called poly-l-lactic acid. Poly-l-lactic acid is a collagen stimulator which uses your body's own natural collagen production to conceal fine lines and wrinkles over time.

Sculptra isn't a quick fix though. Even though it delivers extremely natural looking results, collagen growth can take time. While individual results may vary, most patients don't see any real reduction in facial lines for at least six weeks or more.

To answer your question about which filler is better, the answer depends largely on what your goals are. My advice is to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced facial plastic surgeon. You'll be able to review before and after photos in your doctor's office and your doctor can advise whether or not you're a good candidate for Sculptra or Radiesse treatment. 

Dr. Landon Pryor has 5 Filler to lip lines before & afters:

Filler to lip lines before image performed by  Landon PryorFiller to lip lines after image performed by  Landon PryorFillers before image performed by  Landon PryorFillers after image performed by  Landon PryorFiller to lip lines before image performed by  Landon PryorFiller to lip lines after image performed by  Landon PryorFillers before image performed by  Landon PryorFillers after image performed by  Landon Pryor

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While Sculptra and Radiesse are both volume enhancers they work in very different ways.

Radiesse is a traditional injectable filler which is used to replace facial volume in areas where volume loss has occurred. It’s excellent for creating volume in the nasolabial folds and other deep wrinkles. It can also be used to add structure along the jawline, and to help push up the corners of the mouth if they start to turn down.

As with traditional fillers like Juvederm and Restylane Lyft, Radiesse provides relatively immediate results which are typically visible within one week.

Unlike traditional fillers, however, Radiesse is made from calcium hydroxyapatite spheres -- while other fillers are typically made with hyaluronic acid. The results from Radiesse tend to be longer lasting than traditional dermal fillers, anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

Sculptra treatment, on the other hand, works differently than other filler options. Formulated with poly-l-lactic acid, “Sculptra Aesthetic” stimulates your body's own natural collagen production. The result is a very natural looking increase in volume which develops over a period of months. Because collagen formation can take a long time, you may not start to see the results from Sculptra injections until six weeks after your treatment session. The good news is that Sculptra's effects on facial wrinkles will sometimes last for over two years.

While they are both volume enhancers they actually work differently.  With Radiesse you will see an immediate improvement with results lasting 6-9 months at which time you will most likely need an additional injection.  Sculptra is a slower acting filler which actually stimulates your own collagen.  Sculptra is usually done in multiple sessions over a 6 week period.  Sculptra can last up to two years before you need to have any additional injections done.  You should meet with and discuss your options and the pros and cons of both products to make sure you are getting the correct product for you. I would love to meet with you in person to discuss this further with you.  If you wish I invite you to call my office at 781-239-0680 to set up a consultation.  

Sculptra and Radiesse are both outliers in the world of dermal fillers. Almost all other injectable fillers are made from different formulations of hyaluronic acid. These HA fillers include the Juvederm family of dermal fillers (Juvederm Voluma, Volbella, Vollure, and others), the Restylane family of fillers (Restylane Silk, Restylane Lyft, Defyne, and others) and the newer Belotero Balance dermal filler.

Sculptra and Radiesse on the other hand are not made with hyaluronic acid. Both of these alternatives represent very different strategies for addressing volume loss and restoring facial volume.

Sculptra Aesthetic is a popular formulation of poly-l-lactic acid, which stimulates your body's own natural collagen production. Unlike hyaluronic acid injections, Sculptra injections are given during one time period. Most patients receive three or four treatments, with each treatment session scheduled three weeks after the preceding one.

Because Sculptra replaces lost collagen by encouraging new collagen to grow, the effects can be extremely natural looking. On the other hand, new collagen doesn't just grow overnight. A noticeable increase of new collagen growth can take months to develop, and you shouldn't expect to see your Sculptra injections work at all until at least six weeks after you begin them. The payoff for waiting the extra time, however, is not only a more natural, youthful appearance, but effects that are extremely long-lasting. Sculptra's natural looking volume enhancement can last for over two years.

Radiesse works more like a traditional filler but, unlike HA fillers, Radiesse is formulated with calcium hydroxylapatite spheres. It's an excellent choice for filling deep wrinkles and adding new definition to the jawline. The results are immediate and long lasting. The biggest benefit of Radiesse over hyaluronic acid fillers is that Radiesse's results can last far longer -- usually somewhere between 12 to 18 months.

The downside of Radiesse is that, unlike Juvederm, Restylane, and other HA fillers, Radiesse can't be removed with a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase. If you're not happy with the results of Radiesse, you're generally stuck with them until they fade away. If you're interested in Radiesse injections, it's extremely important to work with an experienced injector who has a solid track record of beautiful results and happy patients. 

Sculptra and Radiesse have different mechanisms of action and are used to address different aesthetic goals. We use Radiesse like a traditional filler to add volume to the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and better definition to the jawline and chin. We also use Radiesse to support the corners of the mouth should they start to sag or look downturned.

Sculptra works differently from Radiesse. Instead of “filling” it actually stimulates your skin’s own natural collagen production. The result is more natural looking volume that’s perfect for the cheek area, midface, and hollow temples -- a spot where we often need broader fills.


I wouldn't say one is better than the other. Both products produce very nice results. Which one we choose depends on the patient and the situation we’re presented with. A skilled injector will understand the benefits of each option and choose the one that provides the most beautiful results for your face.

Always be sure to visit a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for the best results.

Robert Brueck has 1 Injectables before & after:

Injectables before image performed by Dr. Robert BrueckInjectables after image performed by Dr. Robert Brueck

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Both are volume enhancers.  I like to describe them as the tortoise and the hare.

Radiesse is immediate results and should last 6-9 months. Sculptra is slower acting and creates a lattice structure for collagen formation. The general rule with sculptra is 2 syringes for every decade you are over 30.  There is also some aftercare with Sculptra. 5/5/5 massage for 5min/5times a day/5 days. Sculptra is longer lasting- about 2 years. I do think you get an added benefit of improved skin texture due to the collagen  .

See an experienced injector with multiple product options. They should review with you options and costs.


Jack Peterson md

Jack Peterson has 1 Fillers before & after:

Fillers before image performed by Dr. Jack PetersonFillers after image performed by Dr. Jack Peterson

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Both work well.  Sculptra takes about six weeks to see the results while the results of Radiesse are visible immediately.  Both will last a long time.

Radiesse and Sculptra are very different. Radiesse is generally used for deep, semi-permanent bony-type augmentation. For example, I prefer it for nonsurgical rhinoplasty, some nasolabial folds (just under the nostrils), and cheek augmentation. Sculptra is better for larger volume, broader fills, like the temples and cheeks.