Lichen Sclerosus Treatment

Lichen Sclerosus (LS) is an autoimmune disease that is commonly misdiagnosed. The most common symptoms of LS include itching, burning, discomfort, tearing, fusing, and discoloration of the genitalia. We have been treating LS with the Stem Cell Lift®, a stem cell therapy, for approximately 5 years with very promising results. Currently, the average improvement after one lichen sclerosus treatment is 60%.  See the charts which follow this article on: 1) Signs & symptoms before and after one lichen sclerosus treatment, and 2) percent improvement after one lichen sclerosus treatment.

Of all our patients treated, approximately 25% are in remission (meaning no symptoms and no active signs of LS). We have many patients who are able to go back to their normal daily activities, such as exercising, wearing jeans, and/or intercourse after their lichen sclerosus treatment using the Stem Cell Lift® procedure. In addition, many patients are able to discontinue the use of steroids and some patients have experienced un-fusing of previously fused areas.

The goal of the Stem Cell Lift® is to improve the skin quality and put patients into remission by optimizing the immune-modulating abilities of stem cells to stop the autoimmune disease from progressing. There is no way to definitively tell how many treatments a patient will need, however, the average is 2-3 treatments.

Lichen Sclerosus Treatment via the Stem Cell Lift® procedure

The Stem Cell Lift® procedure is a two part procedure: a mini liposuction (referred to as fat harvesting) and then reinjection of the cells. During the fat harvesting procedure Dr. Newman will first inject a local anesthetic to the treatment area (most commonly the abdomen or flanks). A tumescent fluid will be injected using a blunt cannula (specialized needle), this fluid contains medications to further anesthetize the area, reduce bleeding, and help separate the fat from the surrounding tissues. After waiting approximately 15 minutes the fat is manually harvested using a blunt cannula and syringe. Over the next 30-60 minutes the cells are separated and the stem cell enriched fat cells are collected.

While the cells are being concentrated and collected, blood for the platelet rich plasma (PRP) is drawn, centrifuged, and then the platelet rich plasma is collected. Prior to any injections of the LS area a very strong triple numbing ointment is applied to alleviate any discomfort. After the numbing ointment effect has taken place the PRP combined with additional anesthetic is injected to the LS areas using very fine needles. Next the cells will be injected using a small, blunt cannula. The whole procedure usually takes about 4 hours and is performed under local anesthesia with an oral sedative. Most patients tolerate the procedure with minimal discomfort.

Lichen Sclerosus Treatment Protocols

Currently we have two different Lichen Sclerosus treatment protocols with the Stem Cell Lift®: treatment with storage or treatment without storage (referred to as the individual treatment). The difference in the two protocols is the amount of fat harvested which correlates to whether or not cells will be stored. The first protocol includes storage of the cells for up to one year. During this procedure Dr. Newman will harvest enough fat (usually around 200cc) to store for two additional treatments (done approximately three and six months after the initial procedure). The recovery from the fat harvesting areas can take a little longer than when harvesting for the individual protocol but the fat only needs to be harvested once (opposed to at each treatment). This is a good option for patients who are able to have the additional treatments within one year of the original harvest date.

During the second protocol (the individual treatment) a very small amount of fat is harvested, only enough fat to be used that day (usually around 40cc). This is a great alternative for patients who are very thin, do not think they will need 3 full treatments, have financial limitations, or if they will not be able to return for additional treatments within a year. As the amount of fat that is taken is significantly less than with the protocol that includes storage, the recovery from the mini liposuction is usually easier.

Lichen Sclerosus Treatment

Improvement from Lichen Sclerosus Treatment