Are you beginning to see ads for Stem Cell Facelifts? If so, I’m not surprised!  I too am convinced this is the wave of the not-too-distant future. But many of these Stem Cell Facelifts of today are simply fat removed from one part of the patient’s body and reinjected into other parts, as treatment for aesthetic concerns such as crows feet or mouth to jaw marionette lines. Fat transfer as such is nothing new in cosmetic surgery. It has been used by plastic surgeons since 1983 and is considered extremely safe, but not as long lasting as the fillers of today.

stem cells

But stem cell treatments are a bit different from simple fat transfer,  a refinement of the process if you will. In a true stem cell treatment, once the adipose tissue (the fat cells) are removed from the body, the actual fat is separated from the richer stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells, which are far more potent than the remaining fat cells. Once separated from adipose tissue, they are reinjected  into the patient’s body without further manipulation. The SVF cells are neither cultured, further enriched or changed in any way.

My education on Stem Cells in Plastic Surgery began with noted plastic surgeon, Dr. Alan Kisner, when he wrote a chapter for my book: Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour. He explained both the huge potential for the use of adult stem cells in medicine, but also the obstacles to its use:

“For the cosmetic surgery patient, fat seems like an ideal material for soft tissue augmentation, but it has been impermanent due to resorption. In order to become permanent, grafted fat must create it’s own blood supply.”

Dr. Kisner went on to explain how fat grafting, one technique being used to circumvent this problem, involves injecting small amounts of fat (less that 0.1 cc at a time) in discrete layers to gradually build new tissue layers. By allowing time and space between these microinjections, new blood vessels are able to grow within the grafted fat, enabling them to establish permanence. Aside from the skill and specialized training of the surgeon, he emphasized that fat grafting is a slow process that requires patience on the part of both patient and surgeon. In this same chapter, Dr. Kisner spoke about pioneering research now underway to separate the fragile stem cells, in order to enable them to more readily produce their own blood supply.

That said, you can see why this emerging technology of  SVF cells holds huge promise not only to the field of cosmetic surgery, but to the pioneering field of regenerative medicine, by enabling the body to repair, replace, and regenerate damaged, aging or diseased cells, tissues and organs.

Funny how things happen through connections over the Internet. I recently posted an article, Stem Cells in the News, where I spoke about a stem cell procedure gone wrong after a surgeon injected both stem cells and derma fillers into a patient’s face, causing a well-meaning but disastrous result. One of my readers, Jonathan Schwartz, commented that this was true stem transfer facelifts have not been FDA approved. We got into further conversations, spoke on the phone, and he subsequently sent me further material to digest. It turns out he is the President and CEO of MedicalMarvels LLC,  a company doing pioneering efforts in regenerative medicine.

A large body of scientific evidence suggests that adipose-SVF may act by replacing lost or damaged cells, reducing inflammation, improving the function of cells at the site, and recruiting cells from other parts of the body to assist in these processes.

There is at present no benefit is payable, either by Medicare or by a health fund for adipose-SVF treatment. You may be able to claim a tax refund of 20% of the cost, if your total health costs are above $2,000 in a year. We recommend seeking independent advice in this area.

Medical Marvels LLC is an emerging leader in regenerative medicine using adipose (fat) derived stromal vascular fraction containing adult stem cells for pioneering regenerative medicine.  Regenerative Medicine is a rapidly expanding set of innovative medical technologies that restore function by enabling the body to repair, replace, and regenerate damaged, aging or diseased cells, tissues and organs.

To date, this company has developed proprietary technology that allows for the efficient and reproducible separation of stromal vascular fraction (branded “Cellication”) containing adipose stem cells and extracellular matrix that can be performed in doctor’s offices, medical facilities and hospitals. This company is also engaging in clinical studies at major medical centers to obtain FDA approval for clinical indications.

Stay tuned folks. We haven’t heard the end of stem cell face lifts yet!

To get notification of my future beauty postings, click on the word FOLLOW in the upper left corner at the top of this screen. But if you also want to read inspiring stories from my Tales2Inspire “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest, FOLLOW my blog at: http://www.winningtales.wordpress.com. Or get them all in on place if you LIKE my Facebook author page at: http://www.Facebook.com/tales2inspire. Hope to welcome you soon.


  1. Our Center has been doing liquid stem cell face lifts for over a year utilizing Regen Med/Eclipse tubes along with Radiesse and or Juvederm as well as autologous fat transfer. Palomar sells the Adivive system for processing as well as a “stemcellerator” to separate stem cells from Fat cells. Much less expensive than the Cytori method and much quicker.
    Dan Diego Facial Rejuvenation Laser & Vaser LipoSelection Medical Center

    • Hi Dr. Paul,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to join in the conversation. Could you please share info as detailed in my above comment, to help my readers.

      Thanks so much.

      Lois W. Stern

  2. Meanwhile and since Jan 2010, with a significant satisfaction in around 20% of cases (Single injection) up to 60% (after 3 monthly injections), using the autologous PRP-PRF mixer. Mixture utilize the GFs in absolute tissue regeneration, additionally to message the SC attraction from its resources to migrate and participate in regeneration at injection sites. This represents maybe 1-2% of the regenerative potential of injecting pure SC. Absolutely we are eager to hear about much effective SC management system.

    • I am always open to hearing about new technologies and learning about advances in aesthetic techniques. It would be helpful if those of you in the trenches cold share data on studies involving these techniques and if they have been FDA approved or at least under analysis for such.

      Thanks to all of you who are taking the time to join in the conversation.

      Very best,
      Lois W. Stern

  3. I’m glad you have created such an informative and helpful site.
    I’m in San Francisco.
    Prospective plastic surgery clients often read Yelp reviews.
    I recently saw the Dr. Usha Rajagopal Yelp reviews
    and she seemed like a good local source.

    • Thank you Erika for your kind comments. I get a thrill just hearing that I am beginning to reach others in a helpful way. You see I am a retired educator and I guess teaching and helping others is in my blood!

      Warm regards,
      Lois W. Stern

  4. Good article. Had a nice read on stem cell facelift. I know a friend who benefitted immensely from a facelift from Dr Joseph Togba of Oakland. She still has some pain on the scar tissue. Is it a good idea to recommend stem cell facelift to her? She is in her early fifties. Can someone mention about the risks involved in this treatment ?

    • Thanks for responding, Margaret. Yes, a facelift with the right surgeon for the right reasons can be a wonderfully uplifting experience. I can speak from an emotional point of view and tell you that for me it was such a positive experience. But since I a a writer, not a physician, I don’t want to give medical advice. That is something your friend needs to discuss her her physician. Wish her good luck from me!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s