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WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH STEM CELL FACE LIFTS?

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.

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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!

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STEM CELL FACELIFTS IN THE NEWS

stem cell

Three years ago a Los Angeles woman had a new cosmetic procedure, a stem-cell face-lift. During this procedure the surgeon liposuctioned adult stem cells from her stomach fat and after isolating them, injected those cells back into her face and around her eyes. In this case the doctors extracted mesenchymal stem cells—which can turn into bone, cartilage or fat, among other tissues—and injected those cells back into her face After some time, the woman was experiencing difficulty opening her right eye, and whenever she tried, she heard a strange sound. Eventually she consulted a second plastic surgeon, complaining of these symptoms. At first the consulting surgeon thought she was exaggerating, but she did indeed have a swollen, drooping eyelid. This was no overactive imagination at play! After more than six hours of surgery, the consulting surgeon and his colleagues had dug out pieces of bone fragments which had been growing in the flesh around the woman’s eye. The strange sound the woman was hearing whenever she tried to open her eye was bone grinding against bone.

Why did this occur? During the patient’s initial aesthete treatment, her surgeon had injected some dermal filler along with the stem cells. Although plastic surgeons have safely used dermal fillers for more than 20 years to plump up the skin and obscure wrinkles, the principal component of such fillers is calcium hydroxylapatite, a mineral which encourages mesenchymal stem cells to turn into bone, the probable explanation for this woman’s unanticipated predicament.

THIS STORY WAS REPORTED IN SCIENTIFIC AMERICA.

Although the consulting surgeon successfully removed the pieces of bone from his patient’s eyelid, no one can say for sure if her saga has ended as some living stem cells possibly have remained, to turn into bone in the future.

We all tend to get excited when we read about the next NEW thing to enhance our beauty. But MORE is not always better and NEW hasn’t yet stood the test of time. Cosmetic surgery is a constantly evolving field, but let’s be cautious and let the science precede the hype.

For more in depth information about Stem Cells, where we are now and where we are headed, read Dr. Alan Kisner’s informative article: STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME – BREAKTHROUGHS IN SKIN CARE

I came upon this article in one of Susanne Warfield’s  recent newsletters and felt it was worth sharing.

Beauty Breakthroughs from the American Academy of Dermatology will change the way you view skin care 

beautybreakthrough-225x300photo courtesy of shutterstock.com/lev dolgachov

“Does anyone remember that hilarious, yet somewhat true, scene in the 2008 Sex and the City movie when Samantha chastises Carrie for becoming engaged to Mr. Big, and proposes Botox as a more viable option? She proudly states, “Honey, you know me, I don’t really believe in marriage. Now, Botox on the other hand, that works every time.”  This may be a fictional scene from a movie, but the sentiment could not hold more true for many women today. “Looking and feeling younger” is a claim many beauty companies and plastic surgeons have used to steer women towards extremely expensive creams that sometimes have less than desirable results, or procedures that are uncomfortable and in some cases painful.’

“Well, mark your calendars because today the way you view your anti-aging routine will change forever. Researchers at the American Academy of Dermatology have discovered a new method using plant stem cell technology to extract antioxidants from plants in their most pure and stable form. This will allow for beauty products to be extremely effective in treating the signs of aging and cuts down on the contaminants, like pesticides and heavy metals, which can potentially be found in products today.’

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“Looking to find the best anti-aging product right away? While more research is needed, it has been found that two of the most popular and beneficial antioxidants come from berry extracts (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) and soy extracts. Unfortunately, we all cannot hop into a time-machine and wind up back in high school, but with these beauty breakthroughs at least we have a chance of looking that way.”

* Susanne S. Warfield, President/CEO of Paramedical Consultants, Inc. (www.PCIJournal.com) Official Publication of the Society of Dermatology SkinCare Specialists. Warfield has over 31 years experience, is a leading expert on business, legal and liability issues that affect physician and esthetician relationships. 

Susanne was the author of the chapter titled “Why an Esthetician?” in my book, Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour, where she details the work of the esthetician.

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