Iovera, Voluma, LIPO-102: What You Need To Know About The New Needles

VVartanian on 24 Oct 2013 at 9:00am

iovera voluma lipo 102**UPDATE 10/24/13* Allergan announced yesterday that Voluma has received approval from the FDA.

**ORIGINAL POST 5/28/13*

As a kid, I dreaded the doctor — and, especially, the needles. I avoided Carefree Sugarless Gum for years, as the sickly-sweet taste reminded me of the nurses’ reward for “kissing” your arm with a needle.

Little did I know (as I sobbed in my knee socks) that one day I’d grow up, get a wrinkle and become utterly fascinated by what a needle could do for me.

There’s three new needle-driven procedures currently up for FDA approval — and all of them promise rewards sweeter than a stick of gum. Herewith, we chew through the hype, hope, how, and even the “hmm?” of each coming-to-market treatment.

1.  LIPO-102

woman with excess belly lipo-102

The Hype: 

LIPO-102 is an injectible medication that can literally “melt” fat right off a stubborn potbelly or kangaroo pouch.

The Hope:  

That LIPO-102 will be an incision-less, anesthesia-free “lunch time” body sculpting procedure if you want to lose a pant size or two. It’s touted as a non-surgical option for normal weight patients to rid themselves of stubborn tummy bulges (that they’ve unsuccessfully tried to diet and exercise away).

Dr. Marina Peredo, a dermatologic surgeon and investigator in the clinical research for LIPO-102 says, “It’s always good to have an alternate. I’m looking at this like what Botox did for the facelift, and the fact is, that now, so many people are not going under the knife. I think it’s going to be an alternative to a [more] invasive treatment like liposuction.”

The How: 

A chemical compound, called Salmeterol Xinafoate (which interestingly enough, is already found in inhalers for asthma) is injected into areas of subcutaneous fat in a doctor’s office. And, although the mechanism of action is not fully understood, it’s thought that LIPO-102, “binds to the receptors of the fat cells and destroys and shrinks some of the cells,” says Dr. Peredo.

The Hmm:  

If you’re expecting a speedy solution, you might stick with an option like liposuction — as it may take weeks to see the desired slimming effect from LIPO-102.

The Bottom Line:

If FDA approved — you could be melting your way to a teenier bikini in two to three years.

2. iovera

ice iovera wrinkles

The Hype:  

iovera (or “Frotox“ as it’s been nicknamed in Europe where it’s already approved for wrinkle reduction) — is a device that can “harness” the power of cold to “freeze” the nerves responsible for forehead wrinkles.

The Hope: 

iovera, which is currently only FDA approved in the US to treat pain – is touted to be the wrinkle-reducing alternative for people who seek immediate results without using a neurotoxin like Botox (which can take up to 2 weeks to show full effect).

“We did a workshop with about 300 physicians in Monaco last month and I heard from several sources that [after the treatment was administered] there was audible delight from the audience — because you just don’t see these kinds of things,” says myoscience CEO, Clint Carnell, in light of the “right-away” results.

The other “right-away” bonus is that European physicians and patients are seeing a less “done” look.  Says Carnell, “Because we’re using the natural power of cold and the body’s physiological response — it puts the forehead back to a very natural position so you don’t get the “surprised” look that you can get with other technologies.”

Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, an American and European board-certified plastic surgeon using iovera technology in London, says in an email, “Patients are very satisfied with the treatment and they really like that the results are seen immediately.  Results are comparable to Botox.”

The How: 

In the doctor’s office, the area to treat is numbed with Lidocaine and the device (which houses very small needles) is inserted into the skin targeting the temporal nerve branch.

“There are a couple of ways to put a nerve to sleep. One is simply with ice and that’s the first degree — like when you get a [bump or bruise] and your mom puts ice on it. Whereas with the third and fourth degree, you’re cutting or permanently damaging the nerve. [iovera uses the] 2nd degree, and it’s a sweet spot where you’re putting the nerve into ‘hibernation’ — and it wakes up at about a millimeter per day,” says myoscience CEO Carnell. 

The procedure itself, which takes about 15 minutes, may last up to three months dependent of the strength of your (ever-frowning) forehead muscles. And, is it painful?  Says Dr. Alexandrides,  “Because the skin was numbed prior to the treatment — there is no discomfort or pain involved. Most patients describe it as a pressure or have a slight temporary headache afterwards.” Carnell says this “headache” is comparable to when you suck down a chocolate milkshake a little too fast.

The Hmm:  

Using icy-cold to treat wrinkles is a cutting-edge technology that’s going to take some time for doctors to perfect. Meanwhile, we’ve been using Botox cosmetically since 1992 — so it’s easier to predict what your wrinkle-free results will look like.

The Bottom Line:

If FDA approved, the product is expected to be available in the US by late 2014.

3.  Voluma

cheek injection voluma

The Hype:

Allergan, the parent company of Juvéderm Ultra (the injectible filler we’ve all grown to love for plumping up those little nasolabial folds) released Juvéderm Voluma for European use in 2005. And ever since, US cosmetic surgeons everywhere have awaited FDA approval (as it’s purported to have way more juice than Ultra).

The Hope: 

Well, if the results are anything like we’re seeing abroad, the hope is that Voluma will be the injectible-of-choice for restoring youthful fullness to large hollowed-out areas like the cheeks, cheekbones and chin.

Canadian dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Kevin C. Smith, says in a RealSelf Q & A, ”Voluma is an excellent alternative to Radiesse, and [unlike Radiesse] can be easily reversed by injection of hyaluronidase in the rare event of a problem” and “patients treated with Juvéderm Voluma often look good compared with their baseline photos 12-18 months after treatment — about the same duration of cosmetic benefit as Radiesse.

Saskat06, a RealSelf community member from Alberta, Canada, raves about her Voluma cheek injections saying: “I look so refreshed and my skin looks beautiful. I’m 37 and I now look about 28 — I wish I would have done this sooner!”

The How: 

Juvéderm Ultra and Juvéderm Voluma are hyaluronic acid — a naturally occurring substance that gives skin volume. But the major difference between the two is that Voluma is made of a larger molecule — so it gives more of “a lift” and is more appropriate for volumizing a larger space, says Dr. Peredo.

“I presented at a conference in Ukraine and I had a chance to observe [it being injected] — and you can see immediate results. According to my international colleagues — the results can last up to 2 years, which is very exciting. We don’t have any other hyaluronic acid filler [in the US] that will give you immediate results and last up to 2 years,” says Dr. Peredo.

The Hmm: 

High hopes are pinned on Voluma’s ability to last 18+ months (which is almost twice as long as Ultra) — but since it’s a thicker substance than Ultra, it’s not designed for the more shallow areas of the face.

So, it’s likely that Ultra will continue to fill in less-deep areas like the fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth.

The Bottom Line:

If FDA approved — you could be cheek and chin plumping in late 2013.