In each edition, Modern Aesthetics® asks top cosmetic physicians about the latest devices they are using in their practice. Here, Stanley Kovak, MD, owner of Kovak Cosmetic Center in Oakbrook Terrace and Rockford, IL, shares his experience withVenus Concepts' Viva for skin resurfacing.

What is Venus Concept's Viva?

Stanley Kovak, MD: Venus Concept's Viva is a non-surgical, fractional ablative radiofrequency device to treat wrinkles, acne scars, large pores, uneven texture, stretch marks, and pigment irregularity. It has two applicators: the NanoFractional Radio Frequency applicator for procedures requiring ablation and resurfacing and the DiamondPolar applicator for non-invasive wrinkle reduction. In addition, Smartscan Technology enables the user to generate customized patterns for maximum flexibility and control.

How does it stand apart from other fractional devices?

Dr. Kovak: There are many fractional devices available today for a variety of treatments, however, the Viva is unique in that it is a radiofrequency device that is also ablative. Most radiofrequency devices are non-ablative. The non-ablative devices are good in that there is minimal downtown; however, the response is typically more muted. An ablative device tends to deliver more of an impact to the treatment area, which usually results in a more effective treatment.

How are you using it in practice?

Dr. Kovak: The Venus Viva is our go-to device for facial textural improvements, especially acne scars. Typically, patients will notice improvement with just one treatment. Most patients with acne scarring will still need several treatments before they see very good results, but, in general, patients are very happy with Viva treatments.

Do you use the device in combination with other treatments?

Dr. Kovak: We do it all the time. We use it in combination with multiple treatments. We use it to help decrease brow discoloration with our Tyte & Bryte facial rejuvenation treatment. We also combine it with intense pulsed light treatments for rosacea. It is most commonly used for acne scarring, and we are able to combine this with fat transfer or platelet-rich plasma treatments to enhance the results. Each of these can be combined for even better results.

Do you have any patient selection tips to share?

Dr. Kovak: Viva can be used on all skin types with minimal concern for post-treatment discoloration. The only drawbacks with typical laser-based ablative devices are the higher possibility of prolonged downtime along with the inability to treat patients with darker skin types. The Viva is unique in that the downtime is usually limited to the first day with the subsequent four days marked only by dry and slightly pink skin that can be covered with makeup.

How has your return on investment (ROI) been with this device?

Dr. Kovak: It's pretty good mainly because the disposable handpiece is not expensive. You're able to complete a whole passage on the face, sometimes even two, for each patient, so it does not become expensive when you use it. The machine itself is not overtly expensive and usually after multiple treatments or multiple patients you are able to pay it off.