In each edition, Modern Aesthetics® magazine asks top cosmetic physicians about the newest devices that they are introducing to patients. Here, Jeffrey T.S. Hsu, MD, FAAD, Co-Director and Founder of Oak Dermatology in Naperville, IL and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago, tells us all about Alma's BeautiFill, an all-in-one fat-harvesting/fat-grafting system that offers a cure for “filler fatigue.”
What is BeautiFill, and how are you using it in practice?
Jeffrey T.S. Hsu, MD: BeautiFill is a device that integrates a laser into the liposuction process, allowing rapid but gentle fat removal. At the same time, it isolates the highly viable fat cells that we can use for immediate reimplantation to address volume loss on small to large areas.
How does it work?
Dr. Hsu: The key is the 1470nm wavelength laser fiber that is embedded into the liposuction cannula. The laser loosens the fat cells from surrounding tissue without damaging them, which makes for rapid fat harvesting of viable fat cells. Studies have shown that approximately 95 percent of the fat cells are intact and alive. Moreover, it has a uniquely designed collection system that isolates the fat from the aspirate, making this an all-in-one fat harvesting/fat grafting system.
How does BeautiFill compare to other liposuction or fat grafting devices on the market?
Dr. Hsu: No other device does everything that BeautiFill does. There are other energy-assisted liposuction machines, such as power-assisted liposuction or laser-assisted liposuction, but they are usually so traumatic that the fat cell survival is poor and unpredictable for fat grafting. Additionally, most surgeons would have to cobble together several individual machines: tumescent pump, liposuction aspirator, and a fat isolation system. BeautiFill does it all.
I would advise all physicians who currently use fillers daily to really consider this system and not to be intimidated by the fat harvesting process. With a little instruction, this part of the procedure, especially when the goal is to remove a small amount for grafting, is quick and simple. And since we have usually more than enough fat to transfer to small areas, my patients enjoy the result of globalized volume, not just piecemeal regional filling, as dictated by the small amount of costly synthetic filler material. My patients have been beyond thrilled with the outcomes.
This doesn't eliminate the need for injectables, as fillers and neuromodulators are still desirable for fine lines and wrinkles. Fat serves as a panfacial volumizer.
Is there a learning curve for new users?
Dr. Hsu: This is a device that is best used by a physician with liposuction or surgical experience. It does require understanding of general surgical principles and anatomy of both the harvest site and recipient site. Having said that, I feel that any plastic surgeon, ENT, dermatologist, or physician with surgical exposure would feel very comfortable with one training session.
How has the ROI been for the device?
Dr. Hsu: Very good. Once the physician becomes comfortable, he or she can perform the entire procedure very efficiently and charge a premium since very few physicians offer this service. Given that the consumable cost of each BeautiFill procedure is a fraction of the revenue, I enjoy much higher margins compared to synthetic materials, such as fillers.
How are you marketing BeautiFill to existing and prospective patients?
Dr. Hsu: Honestly, I haven't really needed to spend much time or money on marketing. As soon as I tell my patients about the ability to take fat from where they don't want it and put it in areas where they need it, and note that it would be a long-term, natural correction, they are enthusiastically spreading this by word of mouth. The ability to brand myself as a full-spectrum cosmetic physician, offering both fillers and fat grafting, has been tremendously helpful in drawing new patients into my practice.