Stem cell injections are fast becoming a staple addition to cosmetic lifting procedures because they add a layer of vitality that promotes new growth and healthy skin.
These nonsurgical facelifts are performed using our own fat cells, which contain ‘prefat’ cells – stem cells – that can multiply into fat, bone, or other tissue in the same way an embryo develops.
Your fat cells are taken from another part of your body via liposuction, which could be your belly or thighs. This fat is then processed to extract the stem cells, which are then activated – this is done by exposing the stem cells to light from a laser – then they are injected into the facial areas that need a lift.
Fat cells are known to be a rich source of stem cells, with fat transfers/grafts being a very promising area of aesthetic and trauma medicine. The stem cell transfers in the fat are less prone to allergic reactions, since they are the person’s own fat cells. Platelet-rich plasma works on the same principles, being that the PRP contains growth factors and stem cells that stimulate new growth and tissue development.
Fat transfers – with or without the stems cells being isolated – are being more commonly performed, but they are not always what they’re cracked up to be. It might seem like a lovely idea to use your own fat instead of a synthetic substance, but the truth is fat doesn’t always behave as uniformly as we might like. This means results can be uneven or unexpected, despite proper protocol being followed. Fat cells also don’t always survive the transfers either.
It’s important to understand that stem cells don’t just appear either – they need to be activated, primed if you like, to be an active stem cell that will do what you want it to when you transfer it elsewhere in the body. The advantage to injecting stem cells in other places in the body is currently theoretical, though using fat cells as a dermal filler is common.
The domain for fat stem cells may lie in aesthetic medicine, but for trauma and reconstructive medicine possibly to grow new body parts (think breast), rather than the humble nonsurgical facelift. The outcomes of stem cell research remains to be seen, but at this stage seems very interesting, if not promising.