According to Medscape Medical News, the first autologous (from your own body) filler has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of smile lines.
On first thought, a filler that is truly autologous sounds great. But, as usual, the devil is in the details…
Keep Reading to find out what Azficel-T (laViv) is all about.
What is Azficel-T (laViv)?
Azficel is a “filler” produced from your own skin cells that supposedly stimulates collagen production and subsequently fills in lines and wrinkles. The product is FDA approved for treating smile lines, which are sometimes called laugh lines or nasolabial folds. Azficel is different from the other fillers on the market (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, Perlane, etc) because it is not a foreign material.
What are the advantages of Azficel-T (laViv) over other fillers?
- It’s natural. There’s no question that natural is always a better way to go, and it doesn’t get more natural than being produced from your own body’s skin cells.
- It stimulates new collagen production. Anything that stimulates the formation of new collagen in aging skin is a usually a good thing.
What are the disadvantages of Azficel-T (laViv) compared to other fillers?
- The results take a while. You won’t see your final result until at least 6 months after your visit your doctor! The first step is for you to have a biopsy (that’s right, a biopsy!) from behind your ear. The tissue sample is sent to the lab, and after a 3 month processing period, the Azficel is delivered to your doctor’s office. From that point, you will need a minimum of three treatments spaced about 6 weeks apart. It’s a very time consuming process, especially when you consider the fact that you can get the same result (or better) in less than 30 minutes with any of the other fillers on the market.
- The results aren’t that impressive. There have only been a few Before & After pictures of Azficel results published, but for the most part, the results aren’t that dramatic… at least not as dramatic as you might expect for having to wait 6 months or more to see a difference. Take a look at the following sets of photos. The first set is after a 6-month treatment with Azficel, and the second set (at the end of this article) is after a single 20-minute treatment with Juvederm.
- There are similar products and procedures available already. Sculptra is a collagen-stimulating product that works incredibly well for facial rejuvenation, and it only takes about 3 months to see the final result. Fat transfer is another great, 100% natural, filler. Fat can be harvested from anywhere on your body, and transferred to another area such as the face for a permanent, and immediate, result.
So, is Azficel-T (laViv) revolutionary or ridiculous?
The answer is probably that it’s neither. There are still a few questions left to be answered, such as how much Azficel will cost, and who will be able to treat patients with Azficel? However, even if the cost turns out to be comparable to other fillers on the market, it’s very difficult to accept a 6 month wait time when the other fillers can give you an immediate result. Some may argue that there may be less complications with Azficel because it’s “natural”, but the complication rate with other fillers is already so low that any claims to this effect would be difficult to prove scientifically.
Azficel is going to have a hard time competing against popular products like Juvederm and Restylane for the treatment of deep grooves like smile lines, but it may end up having a role for the treatment of finer lines and wrinkles, particularly around the lips and eyelids where new collagen (as opposed to volume) is what’s necessary.
For now, the traditional products are the way to go. The results are immediate, the complication rate in qualified hands is extremely low, and the prices are reasonable.
Photo Credit: Medscape News
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.