This week I’m talking about a new kind of injectable filler that can reshape and revolumise large areas of the body by stimulating your body to produce more of its own collagen. It’s called Lanluma
and I’ve come to the Skin Medical Clinic in Northwood, North London, to meet Dr Sabika Karim who’s going to tell us more about it and show us a body treatment using it, so come with me and we’ll see what it’s all like.
How does Lanluma body filler work?
Alice Hart-Davis: Dr Sabika, tell me about Lanluma. What is it and how does it work?
Dr Sabika Karim: So Lanluma is a collagen-stimulating filler that’s approved for use in the body. It’s made of Poly-L-lactic acid which is a hydroxy acid that’s biocompatible, and it works by stimulating your fibroblast cells to make collagen.
AHD: Okay, so this is working in a very different way to the usual hyaluronic acid fillers we’re used to, isn’t it? Does this give instant volume? Or is it a different kind of thing?
SK: No, it’s completely different. So the hyaluronic acid fillers, you’re completely right, they just give volume. Whereas poly-L-lactic acid or Lanluma is injected, what it does is stimulates your fibroblast cells to make collagen slowly over time. That will take somewhere between 30 and 90 days.
You do see an instant result when we inject the product and you’ll see sort of a lift or a shape change in your bottom or wherever we’re doing the procedure but that’s the water that we use to mix the poly-lactic acid flakes with. It’s a really good indicator of the final result, however, the water gets reabsorbed over the next few days, everything goes down, and then your body actually builds its own natural collagen.
AHD: And this whole filler is designed for working on the body, for body reshaping, isn’t it?
SK: That’s true, it’s the first collagen-stimulating filler that’s had approval for use in the body. And that’s really important because when we’re treating the body, we need larger volumes than when we’re treating the face.
AHD: Sure. And that can get really expensive, can’t it?
SK: It can get really expensive and also we need to make sure that it’s safe. Making sure that it’s got approval to be used in the body means that we know that we can use it in larger volumes quite safely.
What areas of the body can you use Lanluma for?
AHD: So where are you using this? Is it arms, legs?
SK: It can be used in the back of the arms, it can be used in the inner thighs, that area which is really impossible to treat with the crepey skin but where I seem to be using it the most, where it’s really, really popular, is in the bottom!
AHD: So a non-surgical bum lift?
SK: You’ve got it in one.
Can Lanluma be used to lift or shape the bottom to give a non-surgical bum lift?
AHD: So is it used for enlarging the bum? Or smoothing the bum? Or reshaping the bum? Or everything.
SK: The nice thing is that we can tailor the treatment to whatever the patient needs. If you’re looking for a really huge bum, this isn’t the treatment for you, however, if you’re looking for a bit of volume enhancement, a lift, a reshape, hiding some hip dips, things like that, this is really great because, in addition to all the volume changes, it will also improve skin texture and helps with the appearance of cellulite.
AHD: Really? Okay, so can you have it as a treatment just for cellulite?
SK: You can indeed.
AHD: And do you inject that in a different way if it’s just cellulite?
SK: We inject less, but it’s a very similar procedure.
AHD: Right. And what are people wanting? Do they want better shape in the bottom? Does it depend entirely on their own bum?
SK: It depends entirely on your own physique. Obviously it’s not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise but, if you are going to the gym and there are certain bits that you cannot fill up or you can’t get lift in your bottom, then this might be the treatment for you. I do see different demographics wanting different things. My younger patients seem to want slightly enlarged bottoms, more lifted bottoms, perhaps filling in their hip dips. Patients in my generation seem to want lift and reshape but also improvement in skin texture.
AHD: So I was saying to Dr Sabika that this is not a treatment I’m stepping forward to try because I come from a generation that always wants a smaller bottom not a bigger one but I appreciate the cultural wants are different these days.
SK: It’s not really necessarily about having a bigger bottom, it’s about having lift or just a reshape and an improvement in skin texture. So I do have patients who come in who don’t actually want a bigger bottom, they just want a perkier bottom.
AHD: So it’s sort of an extra add-on to all the work you might be doing in the gym, it’s not an either/or.
SK: No, I mean to get the best results you always need to do both, don’t you. But coming out of lockdown where most of us have been sitting around, we may have lost some tone, we may not have got the bums we used to have or just want to spend some time investing in ourselves and our bodies. This is a great treatment for that.
AHD: Okay. And also it’s buildable, isn’t it, as a treatment because you’re not going to get a huge instant result from the first go, so you can kind of layer in whatever you need.
SK: Absolutely, and that’s another thing I love about this, it’s a stepwise treatment, we don’t have to do all of it on the first go and, in fact, you know most of my patients come back for several sittings. The nice thing about that is you can actually see the results and then go from there. The patients are involved in the decision-making process, they know when they’ve reached the target or we’ve reached the target together.
AHD: Sounds great. Let’s go and get in the treatment room and see what it’s like as a treatment.
What is it like to have treatment with Lanluma?
Dr Sabika performed the treatment on a patient to demonstrate how it is done and how it feels.
SK: She has had a little bit of anaesthetic. And then we just literally pop the cannula just under her skin. As you can see it goes in nice and easily. And then we inject really small bits. How’s that feeling, my lovely?
Patient: Just a bit of a pull.
AHD: Okay, so local anaesthetic.
SK: Yes. Her bottom’s already been injected with local anaesthetic.
AHD: Okay, so there isn’t anaesthetic in the product.
SK: No, there’s no anaesthetic in the product. You can inject anaesthetic in the injection points and undermine with anaesthetic to make the whole procedure more comfortable for the patient. These areas are where the patient felt she had volume loss or just needed a bit more volume and the idea is that we inject to help with the shape and the lift. Then we’ve marked out a couple of little extra areas where she had little dimples of cellulite – we’re going to help to improve those. And in fact we did that last time, didn’t we?
Patient: Yeah, that was a really big improvement.
AHD: So this is the second treatment you’ve had, isn’t it.
AHD: And Dr Sabika was telling me that after the first treatment, you’d been texting her saying, “I don’t think much of that, I see no difference”.
Patient: Yes, to be honest with you, that was the case. I just waited like three weeks, four weeks and I’m like, you know what, I know you said this product’s amazing, but I don’t really see anything. Then I messaged her last week and tol;d her that I went to a party and was getting compliments because I wore these tight leggings. A friend of mine was asking, “how come your bum has lifted?’’
AHD: Okay, so at that point you think maybe this is doing what I wanted.
Patient: Once I got the compliment I was like, please can I come in to get it done again?
AHD: Sure. It’s that moment when you realise that something is working that it’s worth coming back for the next thing.
How long does Lanluma last?
SK: It’s downtime-free, almost, because you can sit on it, you can you know walk around, you can get back to your normal day to day activities. The only thing that I’d say is avoiding vigorous exercise for a couple of days and you have to massage it for a couple of weeks. But the nice thing is that you know this treatment doesn’t take long to do. It does take sort of almost three months for you to see the results, but once you’ve got them, they’re yours and they last in excess of two years.
AHD: Two years! Gosh, that’s terrific.
SK: Because the Lanluma doesn’t break down for up to two years, it continues to stimulate your own collagen and I guess the difference is that the feel is really, really natural. If we were to put lots of hyaluronic acid in your bottom, in these kinds of volumes, it would feel really hard. Because this is your own natural body tissue, it’s going to feel like your own bottom. Right. This is just that little dimple of cellulite that we’re filling. And that’s it.
AHD: And how soon does the liquid element of the Lanluma get absorbed by the body?
SK: So it’s within the first week, it’s usually about three or four days, wouldn’t you say?
SK: Three or four days.
AHD: And you massage it continuously from the start?
SK: So you’ll massage it. I’ll massage it now, before she goes home, and that way I can show her how to do it and then she’ll massage for a few minutes in the morning and the evening for the next couple of weeks.
AHD: So you’re working in a kind of fan pattern?
SK: Yeah I am, I’m working in a clock face. I like that, because what we’re trying to do is bring everything up to sort of a circular point.
AHD: Yeah, sure.
SK: The other reason I like it is because you can get sort of everywhere you need to go with just one tiny little hole.
AHD: That’s amazing.
SK: So we reduce any risk of infection, we’re improving comfort for the patient.
AHD: So using this kind of quantity, is that two vials?
SK: It’s two vials. It’s the same amount that the patient had last time, she saw a beautiful result.
AHD: So and that’s a thousand pounds a vial, about?
SK: Thereabouts, yeah. But you know for a treatment that’s going to last you a couple of years, that’s quite good going, really and part of the treatment is that we’re actually just using the cannula to break up those bands and then we’re filling the deficit. So, just as we’ve done that and we’ve gone through with the cannula, we’ve actually broken up some of the bands.
AHD: In the way that sort of subcision would?
SK: Yes, it’s similar to subcision. Then the nice thing is that we can then fill it back up again. There you go. How was that? Okay?
SK: Not the most pleasant thing, I’m sorry. Manage one more?
SK: That’s it, last one and you’re done! You did really well. Really, really well. So this is just how we massage.
AHD: Just across the treated area, just moving it all around.
SK: Just smoothing it out, making sure that we end up with a really lovely smooth finish. And we only need to do a couple of minutes each side. And then that’ll be it!
SK: And the nice thing is, when she stands up and she looks in the mirror, she’s going to notice the difference immediately. Obviously that will then go, but it’s a really good representation of what she’s going to get as the end result.
AHD: So now you know what it looks like to get your bum reshaped in about 30 minutes! I mean I think that was all it took. That was this week’s Tweak of the Week.
This post and video are sponsored by Lanluma