ReCell treatment is a revolutionary treatment for white scars and vitiligo. ReCell therapy uses your own donor cells to repopulate, and recolour white patches on your skin. ReCell can be used to treat scars from burns, acne or trauma. ReCell can also repigment stable areas of vitligo.

Facts on ReCell for scars, burns and vitiligo

  • ReCell therapy can re-colour white scars and vitiligo
  • ReCell uses your own skin cell called melanocytes
  • Melanocytes are taken from a donor site and transferred to the recipient site
  • The skin in the recipient site is populated with your own melanocytes
  • Melanocytes then produce melanin- this results in re-colouring of your skin
  • ReCell takes one hour to perform, and your skin heals within 7-10 days
  • Re-colouring is maximal at 3-6 months
  • Once re-colouring is achieved, the results are often permanent
  • Not all vitiligo patients are suitable for ReCell therapy as this treatment is only reserved for stable cases
  • White scars from burns, trauma or acne can be safely and effectively pigmented with ReCell therapy
  • ReCell therapy cost between $3300- $5500, depending on the condition and size of repigmentation

What is Recell?

ReCell is an Australian invention that is now used World Wide. This technology uses your own skin cells to re-pigment scars and areas of vitiligo.

ReCell Cell therapy involves transplanting cells from either your own body to re-colour the skin on the face or body and to repair skin damage. The transplanted cells boosts pigment production to restore the skin’s colour.The specialised cells in the skin responsible for forming colour are called melanocytes, so these are the specific cells which are harvested in a laboratory and injected or sprayed into the damaged area to boost colour production.

ReCell takes about 60 minutes to perform, and one week to recover. ReCell treatment has a very high success rate. In the majority of cases repigmentation (re-colouring) is permanent.

What conditions can ReCell treat?

ReCell is most useful in recolouring skin. Loss of skin colour can occur with conditions including –

  • Vitiligo: Vitiligo presents are white patches on the skin. The majority of patients will not need ReCell therapy to regain skin pigmentation. The use of anti-inflammatory creams coupled with narrowband phototherapy can re-colour skin in the majority of vitiligo cases. ReCell is only indicted if a patient fails conventional repigmentation and vitiligo is stable.
  • Acne scars: White acne scars can be extremely difficult to treat, as they do not respond to lasers. The loss of skin pigment cells gives rise to white areas. ReCell technology can re-colour these areas over time.
  • Burns and trauma scars: The cause of white scars following burns and trauma is similar to acne scars. Theses areas lack melanocytes or skin pigment cells. ReCell can both remodel scars, and re-pigment the white patches.

What is so special about ReCell therapy?

ReCell therapy is unique as it uses your own cells to regenerate tissue, and to repopulate and repigment areas of vitligo and white scars.

Only a very small sample of the ‘donor site’ is needed to harvest these cells. An average treatment takes 30 minutes to perform.

How do we perform ReCell therapy for re-pigmentation?

I harvest a very small piece of your own healthy skin, termed the ‘donor skin’. This is approximately the size and thickness of 2 postage stamps. The donor skin is most commonly taken from the thigh or back of your ear. Skin is then carefully placed into a processing unit that separates the healthy growing skin cells which are then suspended in a liquid.

This ‘cell suspension’ contains all of the skin cells necessary to promote healthy skin growth: keratinocyte cells that form the basis of healthy skin, fibroblasts which produce collagen providing texture and ‘fullness’ and melanocytes that produce skin colour (melanin).

This suspension contains only your own skin cells with no added chemicals. It is your body’s natural regeneration processes provide all that is needed for the regrowth of healthy new skin. The area to be treated is prepared using laser to remove the aged, damaged or discoloured skin. Your healthy reactivated skin cells in the cell suspension are then sprayed over the prepared area. The cells in the sprayed suspension multiply and repopulate and over a short amount of time forming new skin in 7-8 days. During this time the treated area will be protected with a special dressing.

Skin pigmentation is maximal at 3-6 months following ReCell therapy.

How long does it take to recover from ReCell treatment?

There are two ‘wounds’ following ReCell therapy- one in the treated area and the other from the donor site. Both of these areas will require dressings. Healing time will depend on the sites of both these ‘wounds’. As a guide, dressings are left on for one week following ReCell therapy.

My nurses and assistants will discuss specific wound care with you after the procedure. We are very strict with our wound care dressings as this gives the best chances of repigmentation.

What other important things should I do after ReCell surgery?

During the consultation I will discuss the options for re-pigmentation following ReCell therapy. The best method of re-pigmentation is called phototherapy. Phototherapy awakens pigment cells transferred to the white areas to start producing melanin. This inturn gives skin colour.

The process of repigmentation often takes between 3-6 months.

How successful is treatment?

ReCell therapy has a very high success rate. Once re-pigmentation occurs, recurrence is rarely seen (less than 5%).

Recurrences are only seen in vitiligo patients with progressive vitiligo. Recurrence is not seen in scar therapy with ReCell.

How long will ReCell last?

Following your surgical procedure, skin pigmentation will start to return over a few weeks. Skin colour will continue to improve over 6 months as the pigment producing cells (melanocytes) populate the treated areas. Once skin pigmentation is complete, the results are permanent in the majority of cases.

What is the skin donor site used for in ReCell treatment?

This donor site acts as the source for your new skin cells. The most common area for this donor site is the thigh, back of your leg or the back of the ear. Typically the donor site is the size of 2 postage stamps.

In ReCell therapy for vitiligo and depigmented scars this donor site contains skin pigment cells called melanocytes. It is these cells that are harvested from the donor sites that will re-populate the white areas of your skin.

Does ReCell treatment hurt?

No. We use local numbing cream and anaesthetics for the procedure. In some cases we can perform ReCell under partial sedation to ensure comfort levels.

What are the possible side effects of ReCell therapy?

ReCell therapy is very safe as this treatment uses your own skin cells. The risk of therapy applies to the side effects of laser therapy and donor site harvesting.

Side effects of laser and donor site harvesting include-

  • Scarring- less than 1% with laser, less than 4% at donor site
  • Infection-less than 2%

All possible side effects and outcomes are discussed before therapy.

Who is not suitable for ReCell therapy?

ReCell skin therapy is only suitable for a minority of vitligo patients. This treatment is only indicated if your vitiligo fails to respond to conventional treatment including phototherapy and anti-inflammatory creams.

Your vitligo has to be stable for at least 15 months before ReCell skin therapy. This ensures that treatment has the highest chances of success.

What are the other options do I have for Vitiligo?

The majority of vitiligo patients will have a good response to treatments with phototherapy and anti-inflammatory creams. Success rates of over 90% can be seen for facial vitiligo.

Anti-inflammatory creams halt the immune attack on the pigment cells, whilst narrowband phototherapy awakens the pigment cells hiding in hair follicles in turn re-pigmenting vitligo.

ReCell therapy is most frequently applied to stable vitiligo involving the hands, wrist and forearms as these areas have a low incidence of re-pigmentation with phototherapy and creams.

How much does it cost for ReCell treatment?

ReCell costs vary depend on the condition and treatment size. This therapy cost between $3300- $5500 to perform.

This includes

  • Anaesthetic fees
  • Operating theatre fees
  • Assistant fees
  • Nursing fees
  • ReCell kit
  • Dressings
  • Laser operation costs

Does Medicare or Private Health Insurance cover ReCell treatment?

No. Unfortunately ReCell is not covered under Medicare or Private Health insurance. Medicare covers narrowband phototherapy.

How do I start with ReCell therapy?

To ensure the best possible results from ReCell every patient has to be carefully selected. This will give me an idea of your expectations and goals. A medical history and examination is extremely important and hence a consultation is needed prior to ReCell therapy.

Call 07 3871 34 37 to book for an appointment today.

My viewpoint on ReCell for scars, burns, and vitiligo

By Dr Davin Lim
Laser and Aesthetic Dermatologist
Dr Davin S. Lim copy

ReCell therapy is the only treatment for hypopigmented or white scars, and in areas of stable vitligo not responding to phototherapy and anti-inflammatory creams. Patient selection is critical for ReCell treatment to be successful. Firstly let’s talk vitiligo. When do I recommend ReCell treatment? There are 3 factors that determine how good ReCell works for vitiligo.

  1. Vitligo must be treated with anti-inflammatory creams and phototherapy. This is because these treatments can be successful in the majority of cases. Creams stop inflammation, light stimulates pigment cells to produce pigment.
  2. Vitiligo must be stable- this means that the treated area does not increase with size over time. As a guide, I define stability as 15 months.
  3. Patient motivation and compliance. ReCell is ideally suited for patients with high motivation for repigmentation. You will need to undergo a re-pigmentation program for 3-6 months following ReCell. This program consists of phototherapy to help stimulate the pigment cells to produce pigmentation.

ReCell treatment of white, hypopigmented acne scars and traumatic scars work in exactly the same way as treatment of vitligo. ReCell replenishes depleted pigment cells in scars, and stimulates repigmentation over the months. Most patients undergo one treatment. Once skin colour returns, the re-pigmentation is complete and permanent. ReCell has brought hope to patients with white scars, as apart from cosmetic tattooing, these scars were in the past impossible to treat.