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.
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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