NEW ORLEANS - It's being called a "personalized" anti-aging treatment where scientists give your skin cells a boost to repair damage without any artificial fillers or surgery.
Thais Chanove is one of the first in the area to try cutting edge skin rejuvenation called LAVIV.
"I'm excited. I'm hoping to see good results and I've heard a lot about it, a lot of positive results. So I'm looking forward to it," said Thais Chanove, 46, who works in Dr. Lupo's office.
Months ago, New Orleans Dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo, took three tiny pieces of skin from behind her ear. It's skin less likely to be affected by the real cause of an aged look, sun. Ultra violet light damages the cells' ability to reproduce, make collagen and elastic tissue. That skin biopsy is sent to Fibrocell Science, Inc in Pennsylvania. There the fibroblast cells that create the structure - plumpness, elasticity and spring of the skin - are multiplied. In 90 days, 500 to 700 million new cells are ready to send back to the patient as a liquid, that is injected right under the skin.
"The bottom line is, this is going to be a tool to stimulate dermal repair. So I see it as a competitor to laser resurfacing. I see it as, instead of doing a Fraxel (laser) or a fractional CO2 (ablative laser) for someone who is covered with very fine rhytids (skin wrinkles), you might want to consider this particular treatment," said Dr. Mary P. Lupo, a board-certified dermatologist who is certified to administer LAVIV.
"The advantage is that it's natural. It's using your own skin cells to boost collagen production, firming the skin, filling in the fine lines and wrinkles. The disadvantage is that you don't get that immediate result that people like. You don't see what you see with the HA fillers, the hyaluronic acids, the things that we are currently using. It's also an expensive procedure and it's time consuming," explained Dr. Patricia Farris, a board-certified dermatologist in Metairie and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Farris was getting her LAVIV certification at the time of the taping of this story.
Patients later get two more rounds of injections. Over time, your own cells build better skin. Tested and FDA approved only on the smile lines, people showed results at six months. Doctors in the study tell Dr. Lupo, that two years later, patients still have the same results. But doctors believe LAVIV is best for areas other than the smile lines.
"We can also treat finer lines and wrinkles. things that we haven't been able to treat before. So that's another advantage to LAVIV, being able to treat that crepiness on the outer part of the face that's difficult with the fillers we currently use," said Dr. Farris.
"I think people are going to see more of an improvement in the texture, the fine lines, and some of the angularities you might see with acne scaring," said Dr. Lupo, who plans to use the cells off label in places such as acne scars.
She envisions one day using this technology for diabetics and heart patients with wounds that won't heal, or for burn scars, even personalized at home cosmeceuticals.
"There's a tremendous future to this type of science. I think we can expect to find designer face creams as a result of this technology," predicts Dr. Lupo.
"So this isn't for somebody who wants to look great this weekend, or next month. This is for somebody who's willing to wait for the results, but is looking for something that is a little more natural and gives you a little more longevity," described Dr. Farris.
Since this is delicate, living tissue being injected, Thais will not be allowed to rub or wash her face for three days. But now she has more of her 46-year-old cells banked that can be used in the future.
Like any new procedure, the cost is higher when it first hits the market.
LAVIV can run $3,500 for the entire process, including the biopsy, transportation, lab procedures and three rounds of injections, and storage of the cells.
Editors note: Dr. Patricia Farris is no relation to Medical Reporter Meg Farris.