Stem Cell Research Shows Applications in Aesthetics and Medicine


Researchers are finding that stem cells show promise in helping with wound healing and fat transfer integration.

Physicians and medical experts are predicting that stem cells will be the next revolution in medicine. Doctors are just now starting to understand where stem cells will help and how to use them to their full potential. Some patients are even saving their stem cells now for use in the future when we have a better grasp on the technology.

stem cell research

"Now that we've had this year of using stem cells in our patients effectively, we're starting to see that the potential is far greater than what we even anticipated," said Dr. Todd Malan, a cosmetic surgeon from Scottsdale, AZ. "The potential for getting really nice healing effects and reducing inflammation after surgery is huge. Using stem cells to treat wounds and injuries, surgical scars - not just for fat transfer - and all of the exciting information that's coming out in using stem cells for non-cosmetic applications is very exciting."

Dr. Malan says that research is being done to see how stem cells can be helpful in many non-cosmetic areas such as chronic heart disease, cancer, liver failure, etc. "I see that in the near future, we're going to be counseling our patients that have liposuction that you want to store your fat. You want to be able to have that fat later on in life in case you need it for these diseases."

Stem cells are making a significant mark in the cosmetic world as well, most popularly in fat transfer procedures where fat is removed from one part of the body and injected into another to add volume. Many physicians are claiming to perform a "stem cell facelift" meaning that since there are stem cells in fat, when the fat is injected into the face, you're getting a stem cell facelift.

Some physicians are offering a stem cell enhanced facelift procedure in which they remove fat from a patient and process it to condense and separate the stem cells. The fat cells from which the stem cells were extracted is no longer viable and must be discarded. The physician can inject those stem cells directly, but most mix them with another vial of still viable fat prior to injection. Then it can be said that the fat transfer was enhanced by stem cells. "Stem cell facelifts are now popular here in the US because it's not just a filling effect; it's a tissue rejuvenation where we actually promote new collagen formation in healing of the tissue," says Dr. Malan

A popular use of fat transfer is in breast augmentation, but the terms natural breast augmentation and stem cell breast augmentation can be confusing for patients. As Dr. Malan explains, "Many physicians use the term {!'Natural Breast Augmentation' | natural breast augmentation} because they're transferring fat in lieu of using an implant or filling fat. A stem cell breast augmentation is where you actually take fat and enrich it with stem cells from a different batch of fat and that's what you inject into the breast for improved survival."

Adding the stem cells to the fat improves the fat's integration back into the injected area. The stem cells aid in the development of blood supply for the new fat cells and more survive the grafting process. They're being used in many applications, including vaginal rejuvenation and buttock augmentation. Dr. Malan says, "Using the stem cells, we're actually able to rejuvenate that tissue to grow new blood supply to improve the results. It helps the body replace this fibrous or bad scar tissue with healthy tissue so that we see much better results."

Dr. Todd K. Malan discusses the future of stem cell technology: