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Recell® was launched in Europe in June 2005 and is an innovative autologous cell therapy device (pictured) that enables a practitioner to harvest cells from a small sample of your own skin, which are then processed in the device by the practitioner to create a solution which is then used to spray the cells onto to an area that needs new healthy cells, to repair skin texture and colour.
It is used to treat large surface areas of skin trauma, such as burns, scalds, traumatic wounds, scars, hypopigmentation (white patches of skin) and vitiligo.
A small skin sample (approximately one to two centimetres square and 0.2 – 0.33mm deep, depending on the size of the treatment area) is taken under local anaesthetic from an area close to the skin that will be treated.
The biopsy is taken from an area that is similar to the area to be treated to ensure the same skin consistency and colour. For example, if your face is being treated, the sample would be taken from behind the ear, but if your hand is being treated it would be taken from the other hand or the foot.
Whilst the area to be treated is prepared, (this is done using such techniques as dermabrasion or ablative skin resurfacing lasers, to create the best surface (wound) for accepting the new skin cells), the skin sample will be placed into the ReCell® kit which will separate the cells, creating a cell ‘suspension’ which allows them to be sprayed onto the treatment area.
The ReCell® device has specialised compartments that help to separate skin cells and uses a special formulation of an enzyme called Trypsin to process them and then places them in the special spray fluid. (Trypsin is naturally found in the pancreas and is used to break down food.)
This cell suspension or spray is then sprayed onto the prepared treatment area, and can cover a wound or treatment area many times the size of the skin biopsy. The biopsy area is also treated with the spray to help it heal properly.
Afterwards the treated area and biopsy site will be covered with a dressing for approximately 3- 5 days.
Following treatment the treated area will heal and change over a period of weeks and months, with pigmentation improving after 3 - 6 months. All results are permanent.
Must only be performed by surgeons with formal qualifications in plastic or reconstructive surgery.
This procedure is often used to repair defects in the skin which are quite large, such as burns, scalds, scarring (e.g., surgical scars from skin grafts), hypopigmentation (patchy white areas of skin), such as those produced by vitiligo.
It has also been used by some physicians to assist in speeding up the healing process of wounds created by cosmetic treatments such as ablative laser resurfacing, dermabrasion or deep chemical peels.
Recell® should not be used on:
Following treatment the skin will be red and some scabs may form. Your practitioner will advise you on necessary pain medication and what creams you are allowed to use on the treated area.
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with ReCell®. These include: reactions to the anaesthetic, post-surgical infections (requiring antibiotics to treat), the need to undergo more surgery to correct the original defect or the possibility of additional scaring.
This will depend very much on the size of the area and indication being treated, as well as the preparation techniques used.