Research in the last few years has yielded a lot of new information about stem cells, and some aesthetic physicians are advertising stem cell enhanced face lifts or breast augmentations. But there are a few facts you should be aware of before undergoing one of these new procedures.
"We've learned that your own fat is a great source for stem cells," says Dr.
Mark Berman, President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS).
"With our current technology, we can harvest fat and actually separate the stem cells."
The stem cells are said to aid in the retention of the fat graft. It is believed that when the stem cells found in fat are removed and concentrated, then reintroduced into the fat before injection, they help the fat establish a blood supply so that more of the cells survive the graft. The progress in this field is still in early stages however, and much more research needs to be done.
"I've been hearing people say 'We're doing this stem cell face lift, we're doing the stem cell breast augmentation stuff like that. That may be good for marketing but only as long as the patient understands what they're getting," says Dr. Berman. He says that patients need to understand that these procedures, for the most part, are simply fat transfer procedures. Some physicians do separate and concentrate stem cells before injection, but these are not miracle procedures. More research is needed.
"Sometimes people don't like the term fat grafting, but that's what we're doing. We're harvesting fat; we're putting fat back into the face - because that's what you're missing. Within the fat there are basically two cells, the fat cell or adipocyte, and the preadipocyte which is simply a stem cell. So technically you are doing a stem cell face lift but the public has to know what you're really selling," says Dr. Berman.