During a treatment session

Sculptra treatment for people with lipoatrophy and HIV

Your first visit can last 1 hour and 30 minutes. Future sessions will last about an hour.

You'll have photographs taken, a clinical assessment and the treatment itself. 

At your first appointment, please bring a photo of your face before it changed because of fat loss (lipoatrophy). This can help us give you the best treatment.

Only the nurse and doctors responsible for your care will have access to your clinical photos. They will be stored securely and used for no other purpose, unless you give us consent.

Please tell us if you are:

  • pregnant, or think you might be
  • breastfeeding
  • allergic to anything
  • taking blood thinning medicine

Blood thinning medicines can include:

  • antiplatelet medicines (such as aspirin, clopidogrel, prasugrel or ticagrelor)
  • anticoagulant medicines (such as warfarin, acenocoumarol, phenindione, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban or edoxaban)

Having the injections

The injections can feel uncomfortable for a short time, or they can be painful. 

A local anaesthetic with a numbing effect will be injected with the Sculptra.

We can also give you a local anaesthetic cream or ice packs that can be applied to your face before the injection.

Read more about having local anaesthetic

Side effects

Side effects can include:

  • numb face and mouth. This will go away after a short while but please be careful when having hot food or drink
  • swelling, discomfort, bruising or redness around the injection site. This usually goes away in 2 to 6 days.
  • small lumps under the skin which can appear and disappear again. If they do not go away, they might need to be massaged or injected with steroids.

Contact a GP or 111 immediately if you:

  • have any severe side effects
  • have pain, redness, or a high temperature (fever) that does not go away with paracetamol 

Resource number: 4316/VER1
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Contact us

For questions or concerns during treatment

Phone: 020 3315 6936 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Out of hours

Phone the on-call HIV doctor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ using the switchboard: 020 7188 7188 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

In an emergency, go to your nearest emergency department (A&E).

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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