Nowadays there’s a big variety of aesthetic products on the market, and it becomes challenging to differentiate between them. We, aesthetic professionals, spend a lot of time researching and learning about the products, and at times the information provided on the internet is not enough. That’s why it’s so important to network and share the knowledge in our aesthetic community. Empowering one another is the motto of Top Dermal: “Your success is our success!”

Therefore, today we will talk about two very renowned products, namely Sculptra and Radiesse. Some people get confused and so Top Dermal team receives a lot of questions about these two on a daily basis. For that reason they asked me to help dispel some of your doubts.

First of all, it’s important to mention that the main difference is the composition. One is made with Calcium Hydroxylapatite and another with Poly-L-Lactic Acid. So without further ado, let’s dive into these active ingredients:

Calcium hydroxylapatite

Brand names include: Radiesse


Calcium hydroxylapatite is found naturally in human bones and is a mineral-like compound. It’s often used to:

  • Moderate-to-severe creases such as nasolabial folds, marionette lines and frown lines
  • Enhance fullness of the cheeks and other facial contours
  • Improve volume in areas of facial wasting such as can occur in HIV-positive people taking certain medications

Calcium hydroxylapatite is biosynthetically produced, which means that no animals or animal products are used. This lowers your risk of an allergic reaction and no skin testing is required. This type of dermal filler is known to produce a very natural result, doesn’t migrate and the side effects are very rare .

According to the manufacturer, Radiesse is an injectable filler that works by immediately restoring facial volume to smooth out the signs of aging.

Once injected, it stimulates the production of natural collagen for results that may last a year or more. Visible results can be seen immediately.

Radiesse can be used for strong anti-aging treatment such as MESO RADIESSE technique, which is a technique where you dilute Radiesse with one’s own plasma (PRP) in the special proportions or with Sodium chloride. Meso Radiesse gives outstanding results for the skin, neck, decollate and hands. Below you can see my own results with this technique and my patient’s results.

meso radiesse technique

Injectable Poly-l-lactic Acid (PLLA)

Brand names include: Sculptra


The advantages of its use include its stimulatory action on collagen formation, the longevity of its effect, and the low side effect profile. Despite these advantages, meticulous preparation practices and injection techniques are paramount to achieving a satisfactory outcome. We review poly-L-lactic acid as a filler, along with its associated side effects, indications of use, and techniques of injection.

As we age, the fat, muscles, bone, and skin in our face begin to thin out. This loss of volume leads to either a sunken or sagging appearance of the face. Injectable Poly-L-Lactic Acid is used to create structure, framework, and volume to the face. PLLA is known as a bio-stimulatory dermal filler, this means it stimulates your own skin to produce new collagen. Over time your skin breaks down PLLA into water and carbon dioxide. The effects of PLLA appear gradually over a few months, producing natural results. It takes about 12 weeks to build collagen formations in the human skin .

However, PLLA is known to have a minimal risk of immune reactions because of its biocompatibility. Most fillers, such as hyaluronic acid and collagen, have a volumizing effect, solely through the persistence of the filler material, such as that it induces a direct and passive response. Unlike these fillers, an injection of PLLA is continuously resorbed while also increasing collagen levels, resulting in a long-lasting volumizing effect for approximately 2 to 3 years or longer. However, its effects are insufficient to induce a direct volume increase effect and may assist in volume maintenance for only approximately 6 to 9 months after the injection of hyaluronic acid.

Important note:

Treatment of lips , nose and infraorbital areas should also be avoided as it will cause the over correction and nodularity. Orbital infraction with visual loss has been reported following nasal and periorbital PLLA placement

We hope you found this post useful and it helped you to see the differences between Radiesse and Sculptra. If you are interested in a master-class for Meso Radiesse technique or any other topic, please contact Top Dermal team, and we’ll arrange a private training for you and/or your medical team.

Radiesse and Sculptra are two of the most famous dermal fillers brands, along with Juvéderm. Check here the story about Juvéderm.

Contributed by Dr. Irina Geliev