More Questions than Answers About Stem Cell Facelifts

More Questions than Answers About the Stem Cell Lift
I received two personal patient communications this week about the claims related to using one’s own stem cells to perform facelifts. This has really been in the recent press for over two years, and it continues to gather attention. Many aspects of such claims are very appealing. Many would agree that this procedure sounds safe, natural, long lasting, and minimally invasive. Those of us in the facial plastic surgery field are continuing to search for such a procedure.
Have we discovered this in the “stem cell lift?”
To make a long story short- not yet. Not even close.
Skin, muscle, subcutaneous fat, and bone all undergo changes with age. The American Board of Facial Plastic Surgeons are continuing to focus on volume restoration of the midface, temples, lips, and jawline. Facelifting continues to be a very helpful tool when excess skin exists despite volumization. I do advocate utilizing fat cells harvested from the belly to assist with adding tissue when needed. A recent article in the plastic surgery literature even suggested that fat be utilized to build volume for revision rhinoplasty.
However, even the use of proprietary fat and tissues technologies are not yet able to make any claims about the use of stem cells in facial rejuvenation. There simply are no studies that are peer-reviewed and controlled to make this type of statement.
During the last 10 years, I have seen that free tissue grafts have played a significant role in my practice. I will embrace any use of stem cells as they become available through science and technological advances.
That day has yet to come.
The greatest advantage that I enjoy as a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery Emerging Trends Committee is the chance to review our best science prior to most of the physicians in our field. I will certainly keep our patients posted.
Here’s to the future.

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