Buzz has begun building around a procedure touted as the “stem cell facelift,” which involves injecting one’s own stem cells and fat cells into the face for a purported rejuvenating effect. However, experts are putting their feet down about the promises being made about what many are calling a fad procedure.
“There have been many cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and device makers who claim either to use stem cells in their products, or to use ingredients that activate the customer’s own stem cells,” says Doug Sipp, Head of the Science Policy and Ethics Study Unit at the Center for Developmental Biology of RIKEN in Kobe, Japan. “To the best of my knowledge, none of these has a basis in scientific evidence.” Sipp monitors stem cell treatment claims around the world, and this opinion extends to the stem cell facelift, which is being marketed without much proof.
“Although stem cells certainly have potential for use in the cosmetic surgery field, some of the claims being made about the procedures that are currently being marketed as ‘stem cell facelifts’ seem far-fetched,” says president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Jeffery Kenkel, MD. “We simply don’t know enough about the safety and efficacy of these procedures. One of the major unanswered questions is whether the stem cells actually contribute to any of the positive effects that might be observed, or whether we are simply seeing the effects of injecting fat cells into the face, which can give the face a younger look.”
“Stem cells have incredible potential. But nobody knows exactly what they can do. So they’re marketed to do everything,” says Michael McGuire, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “In time, maybe a decade from now, science will tell the real story, but until then, marketing regarding stem cell face lifts should be considered fiction.”
In order to help put solid science in the forefront of cosmedic medicine, the ASAPS and ASPS will be working together to test the legitimacy of this and other questionably marketed procedures.
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