South Florida Doctor Using Rare Stem Cell Technique | NBC 6 South Florida

South Florida Doctor Using Rare Stem Cell Technique

Dr. Todd Sawisch, is on the cutting edge in the healing and recovery process with amniotic stem cells.



    Dr. Todd Sawisch explains a amniotic stem cell procedure he is pioneering. Patient Karl Aube also comments. (Published Friday, Nov. 22, 2013)

    Fort Lauderdale is home to a cosmetic surgeon doing something most others don’t. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Todd Sawisch is on the cutting edge in the healing and recovery process.

    His secret is stem cells, specifically amniotic stem cells which are injected right into the scar or wound.

    Sawisch says other surgeons use stem cell technology, but not placental tissue cells.

    Patients like Karl Aube, who had a face lift, are noticing the difference.

    “When you come out of the surgery you have all these scars and you're kind of scared it's going to stay like that, but it goes away really quickly," Aube said. "I was fascinated by how quickly it healed."

    "I believe I am the only facial cosmetic surgeon throughout the country that's using this particular regenerative process in his surgical techniques," Sawisch said.

    And it is a process. Sawisch once used traditional stem cells from the patient, but that method was time intensive. The doctor first has to take tissue from the patient, which is then cultured at a tissue bank in a Petri dish and then it has to be regrown out. That process takes time and it's costly, Sawisch said.

    Instead, Sawisch uses amniotic stem cells from  Bio D Logics lab in Tennessee, which harvests cells from the umbilical cord and placenta. It starts with staff drawing blood from the patient and then separating it into platelets using a centrifuge.

    "Platelets have growth factors in there, so they're concentrated," Sawisch said. "We take those and mix those with amniotic stem cells which we get from a tissue bank. We put them together to get a synergistic affect and inject them into the patient in the surgical area."

    Those newly injected cells take on the form of the tissue in which they're injected. For example, those stem cells become skin cells, bone becomes bone.

    That's the technique Dr. Sawisch used on Aube, nearly erasing the lines, and wound scars are just one process in which Sawisch has seen success.

    As an oral surgeon, he has actually seen bone regenerate by 40 percent in three months using amniotic cells.

    "We mix stem cells and growth factors with cadaver bone that we get from a tissue bank. We're able to regenerate bone within three months so that it's dense enough to place dental implants," Sawisch said.

    Skin rejuvenation also reacts well to this technology and for those who are balding. Sawisch has injected these stem cells into the scalp with surprising results when trying to slow hair loss.

    Existing scars can be treated by stem cells and laser resurfacing. Sawisch said they will not go away 100 percent but fading them by 90 percent makes most patients happy with the results.

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