LAVIV is a relatively new facial dermal filler which is made of autologous (your own) cells. Developed by Fibrocell Science, and approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2011, LAVIV is the first and only personalized cell therapy approved for aesthetic, cosmetic use.
It is approved to treat nasolabial folds and wrinkles primarily, but the technology behind LAVIV may lead to other exciting treatments in the future.
Important Facts About LAVIV
LAVIV (azficel-T) is a personalized dermal filler, because it consists of the patient’s own cells, which are multiplied in the Fibrocell laboratory. It is available exclusively through board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists for use. The doctor must be trained by Fibrocell Science on the treatment process before administering injections. If you are seeking LAVIV facial filler injections, doctors who are trained to administer LAVIV injections may be found by checking the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) directory for credentials.
Samples of skin cells are taken from behind the patient’s ear, and are sent to the Fibrocell Science laboratory, where multiple cells are grown, in a saline and water solution. This process takes up to three months. The cells that are used for facial injections are fibroblast cells, which synthesize extracellular matrix (structural support of the cell), and collagen, which is the main protein component of connective tissue in the body. LAVIV treatment involves three injection sessions, which are 3-6 weeks apart. Results are most visible after the final treatment, and effects can last 6 months or more.
LAVIV Uses, Procedure, And Side Effects
LAVIV is approved for treatment of nasolabial folds and lines, which are known as “smile lines”, “laugh lines”, or “parentheses”. The technology in using fibroblast cells is also being tested to use for treating acne, and burn scars, reducing pore size, improving décolletage (chest area), and adding volume to aging hands. The possibilities are exciting, yet further testing must be evaluated before it is approved for use in other areas.
The procedure begins, consulting with a trained LATIV dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The patient’s medical history and expectations must be discussed. LATIV is not used for lip enhancement, or filling in the cheek area. If you are expecting instant results, various other dermal fillers may be discussed. If LATIV injections are deemed suitable, then three samples of skin cells are taken from an area behind the patient’s ear, which is first numbed with local anesthetic. These skin cells are then sent to the Fibrocell laboratory, so that multiple cells can be cultured , for your own personal injection storage.
After three months, the injection of fibroblast cells which has been cultured at the laboratory, are sent to your doctor of choice, and injections are administered. You will receive injections three different times, each 3-6 weeks apart, and the effects may not be visible until after the final, or third injection. Because you will be injected with your own cells, there is no allergy pre-test required, and very little chance of rejection. Effects will last 6 months, and longer in some individuals, depending on the absorption rate of the body.
The side effects that may be experienced are very similar to other dermal fillers. The patient may experience injection-site redness, bruising, swelling, pain, bleeding, lumps, irritation, and itching. These side effects are usually resolved within one week. Immediately following treatment, the patient should apply a cold compress, in order to treat any swelling or discomfort. It is recommended not to wash the site for 24 hours, not to rub, scrub, or massage the area for 72 hours, and not to wear make up or creams for 72 hours.
LATIV Candidate Restrictions
There are some individuals who may not be good candidates for LATIV facial filler treatments. LATIV should not be used if you have, or are taking:
- Allergic reactions to certain drugs or foods
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood-thinning medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, keloids, or coumadin
- Excessive scarring
- Skin cancer
- Genetic skin disorders
- Immune disorders, or are on immunosuppressive therapy
- Allergies to antibiotics such as amphotericin, gentamicin, bovine (cow) products, or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)
- Leukocytoclastic vasculitis (blood vessel disorder)
Pros & Cons
The benefits of using LAVIV treatments are that the injections are made of your own cells, therefore the supply for injections is endless. There is no allergy pre-test, and almost no risk for rejection of the injections. The doctor will be trained by the developer’s, using specific techniques, so that you are assured of competency in administration of the injections. LATIV provides more natural-looking, and possibly longer-lasting results than other dermal fillers composed of synthetic, or animal products.
LAVIV will not produce immediate results however, and there are a more limited number of trained doctors to perform the injections. It does take most patients three injections, spaced 3-6 weeks apart for results, and you must wait three months for your cells to multiply, in order to inject. Personal cell growth and storage at the Fibrocell Science laboratory costs from $1,000 to $2,000, and each of the three treatments average from $700-$1,000.
Personal patient reviews are limited, due to LAVIV being introduced and approved so recently. It is suggested that if you want more gradual and natural-looking results, and do not mind waiting on your own cells to multiply before injection, this may be a preferred dermal filler treatment. If you want more instant gratification, a synthetic filler may be discussed with your doctor. Regenerative cell therapy is exciting technology for future uses, and if your expectations are not immediate, LAVIV dermal filler may be right for you.