Harvesting Beauty: Stem Cell Facelifts
Say hello to the latest scientific breakthrough: the stem cell facelift
Using stem cells harvested from a patient’s own fat cells, this revolutionary facelift injects stem cells into the areas of the face that need volume, creating younger and tighter skin with dramatically less fine lines and wrinkles. The patient’s own cells are put to use to heal and repair. Forget Botox and surgery. This treatment’s results are natural and long-lasting and actually change the texture and tone of the skin.
“It’s more than just a traditional facelift because a traditional facelift is just pulling and tugging on the skin,” Pericles J. Lantz, MD, from the Anti-Aging & Laser Medical Associates, explained. “That is the simplest way to think about it. If you have a painting on a canvas and the painting is droopy, you are just pulling the painting tighter on the canvas and then the painting evens out. That’s what happens when you do a facelift. You are just tugging on the skin and pulling it back. But that doesn’t really change the nature of the skin. It doesn’t do anything to alter or refresh the painting. So when we are doing a stem cell facelift, we are not just getting that tightness, we are also getting an improvement in the skin.”
Clinical trials have demonstrated the amazing capabilities of adult adipose stem cells, which can increase the healing time of damaged tissue, regenerate lost tissue, produce new blood vessels to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and decrease pain. A stem cell is a type of cell that has the ability to change and morph into different cell types. The stem cell facelift uses mesenchymal cells, which can morph into connective tissue cells, the kinds of cells that mostly make up the face. As the cells are activated, they migrate to areas that need repair, causing a more youthful appearance as they restore elasticity and circulation to the skin. Put simply, stem cells heal the skin.
The procedure begins with some small, gentle liposuction, usually in the lower belly, to harvest the fat, which can be done comfortably under local anesthesia. Much more fat is taken than will be used.
Each gram of fat yields millions of stem cells. After the stem cells are isolated and concentrated, they are paired with more fat for volume enhancement. The resulting mix is injected into the areas of the face that need rejuvenation, especially under the eyes, the smile lines and crow’s feet. As the cells come from the client’s own body, there is minimal chance of allergic reaction or side effects.
“People do the procedure because in the right hands, in the right environment, it really works,” Lantz declared. “It’s a way to gain youthfulness to the face. As we age, we tend to lose volume in the face. If you look at a baby, a baby has a very plump, round face. And if you look at a much older person, their face tends to be really gaunt … So when we are doing that stem cell facelift, we are injecting that stem cell tissue along with some of the fat tissue used to harvest stem cells and basically giving the face the volume back it needs to have a youthful appearance.”
A full facelift can be daunting. With the stem cell facelift, there is practically no downtime. It can be performed in an office-like setting. After the liposuction, the client wears a wrap to let the area heal and there may be mild discomfort over the next 24 hours. With the stem cell injection, the only real risk is slight bruising; the procedure is very safe. After two to three days of mild soreness, the patient may return to work.
As harvested from embryos, stem cell therapy has been highly controversial. It is a relatively new discovery that adults have stem cells that can be harvested too – meaning that ethical issues are sidestepped. When adult stem cells were discovered in the last few years, it was a logical extension to use them in cosmetics.
The procedure jumps off the fat transfer injection, during which a cosmetic surgeon injects fat into the face as a filler. One of the reasons this procedure was so successful was – unknowingly – the stem cells present in the fat. The stem cell facelift modifies this known-to-be-safe treatment while generating better results.
For optimal results, the stem cell facelift is frequently combined with laser facial resurfacing. During laser facial resurfacing, the laser stimulates the skin, creating a controlled tissue injury that signals the body to heal itself. This treatment “turns on” the stem cells.
“Stem cells are like soldiers,” Lantz said. “And they are basically just sitting around waiting for the body to need them and if there is no signal, no call to action, if the soldiers don’t get their orders, than they are not going to do that much ... they are going to be dormant. So we have to wake up the stem cells and the one way we do that is by combing the procedure with laser facial resurfacing.”
As stem cells can heal, repair and regenerate injured or damaged tissue, they can be used to treat multiple chronic and degenerative diseases, such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. When injected into the site of an injury, they initiate a regenerative cellular healing process that cannot be replicated with traditional medications or surgical procedures.
The AALMA also uses concentrated stem cells for orthopedic purposes: to decrease pain, improve performance and treat sports injuries.
“We are still learning what all the signal pathways are from stem cells and the future of stem cell research is when we fully decode the language, the chemical signs that stem cells rely on. When we fully decode that and we are able to completely command a cell to do what we want, that is certainly the future. There is a lot of research going on in that vein. And that is why stem cells can be used for heart disease, diabetes, neurological conditions …This is just a new area for medicine and there is going to be more and more applications,” Lantz said.
After a full medical evaluation, including physical and imaging evaluation, AALMA specialized physicians will determine if the treatment is right for you. For more information, visit www.whatisstemcelltherapy.com.