Human cadaver tissue could be the secret to looking younger

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In March, Dianne Stasi, a 67-year-old art director who lives in Nolita, opted for a product called Renuva instead of her usual injectables at the Park Avenue office of dermatologist Howard Sobel.  

“My regular filler only lasted four to six months, but they say this could last years,’’ she said of the procedure, which cost $3,000. “He did the upper cheeks and it wound up lifting the nasal labial folds and smoothing the area. The amazing part is that it keeps getting better.’’ 

People are turning to Renuva, a relatively new, uniquely formatted product, instead of injecting synthetic fillers or their own fat when they need volume in their face or to fill in dimples or unevenness on the body.

It supposedly lasts longer, but there’s an interesting catch: It’s made from cadaver tissue.

Those using it don’t seem to mind.

“I see it as equivalent to a medical transplant,” said Stasi.

Woman getting face filler injections.
Renuva supposedly lasts longer than synthetic injectables.
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Last summer, 46-year-old family law attorney Samantha Green discovered a melanoma on the back of her leg, and scheduled surgery at NYU.  “They took a chunk out and it looked like I had a shark bite,’’ recalled the Tribeca resident. “My surgeon said some of it would fill in, but I am extremely active and I couldn’t even wear shorts. It was unsightly and mentally traumatic.’’

Green visited cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, who has offices on the Upper East Side and in the West Village. He suggested Renuva, a product approved by the FDA in 2021, that offers a noninvasive alternative to fat injections.

She had two treatments over the winter totaling $7,000, a month apart, and doesn’t believe she needs a third.  

“Going into the summer, I’m feeling really good about it,’’ she said. “When I get out of the shower I don’t even see it anymore, and I don’t have to think about skin cancer every time I see my leg. It gave me back my confidence.

“The advantage is that Renuva is an off-the-shelf injectable, like any other filler, that does not require surgery.” said Frank. “It has zero downtime and can be built up slowly, over time, to ensure you’re getting the desired result.”

“It’s a game changer,’’ agreed Sobel. 

Diane Stasi before and after Renuva injections.
Diane Stasi before and after Renuva injections.

Pamela, a 57-year-old New Canaan resident who preferred not to give her last name, visited dermatologist Dr. Anetta Reszko, who has offices in Park Avenue and in Rye.

She observed the fat that migrated to the injected area actually improved the quality of her skin, as well as the contours of her face. 

“People are always commenting on my skin, and saying that my pores look so small, and that came from this procedure,’’ Pamela said.

Reszko noted this is thought to be due to stem cell activity, present in both fat and Renuva, but not foreign fillers. 

“Clinically, we clearly notice that injection of Renuva and likely stimulation of fat stem cells not only restores the volume of the face but also improves the quality of the overlying skin, making it softer and more dewy,’’ she explained.

Many people who rejuvenate their faces neglect their hands, and Noelle, a 55-year-old esthetician who lives in Jersey City and didn’t give her last name, visited Upper East Side dermatologist Jennifer  Levine.

Levine who used Renuva to correct that imbalance. “I felt like my hands revealed my age, but after one treatment they definitely look younger and smoother,’’ she reported. “It got rid of that crepiness.’’

Diane Stasi after Renuva.
Diane Stasi loves the results she’s gotten with Renuva.

Not everyone is a fan, though.

Dr. Darren Smith, a Midtown board-certified plastic surgeon, said that harvesting a patient’s own fat is less costly than Renuva and requires only a quick procedure prior to injection. 

“Fat grafting is a tremendously powerful technique,” he said.

And, he noted, “The company doesn’t exactly advertise the fact that it is derived from cadavers.’’  

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