Inside the Stem Cell Facelift

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If you’re experiencing volume loss and an overall aged appearance in your face, a “stem cell facelift” might be the right procedure to plump your wrinkles and lines. But what is a stem cell facelift exactly? In short, it’s a controversial procedure (the machine needed to perform it is not FDA-approved), where stem cell–enriched fat is extracted and injected into the face. “A stem cell facelift is different than fat-grafting to augment and replace volume,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, MD

During the true procedure, fat is removed via a liposuction-like technique from the thighs, butt or stomach. The fat is separated and the stem cells and growth factors are taken from that, turned into a solution and injected into volume deficient areas of the face. “Stem cells reside within fat adjacent to normal adult fat cells. These stem cells are different from other cells because they have the potential to become many types of cells with the proper stimulus,” says Chicago plastic surgeon, Lawrence Iteld, MD.

In about one to two weeks following the procedure, you’ll notice volume is improved, lines and wrinkles are diminished and skin tone and texture as well as pore size is better. Some doctors feel the end result is promising, but others disagree, saying not quite yet. “Several technologies claim to increase the percentage of stem cells within harvested fat but the jury is out as to which, if any, works best,” says Dr. Iteld.

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