When looking for the best cosmetic treatment available today, you’ll find superior results with time-tested, scientifically proven, research-based methods provided by a cosmetic surgeon who stays up-to-date and experienced in the most current research and latest technological advancements. You may be wondering if the “stem cell facelift,” which has emerged in recent years, is a treatment to “watch.” You may even be wondering if this treatment offers new advantages in 2013. But don’t hold your breath, because the reality is that the purported stem cell facelift is still the same concept today as it was when it was first marketed: grafted fat.
This is not to say there is no merit in the mechanisms involved with this procedure as a general facial filler. However, our major underlying concern is the misleading name of this treatment, and the fact that a reputable and honest surgeon will be transparent in their discussion rather than rely on catchy new names for time-tested methodologies. The treatment advertised as the stem cell face lift is in fact more accurately–and more honestly–called fat grafting or fat transfer. Through a tiny poke in the skin, your own fat harvested from another part of the body can be injected into the face for a volumizing result. This is safe because the body’s own tissue is being used, and the procedure works because about 60 to 70% of the transferred fat survives in its new position. This can provide long-lasting results and may be a helpful component of an individualized treatment plan for some individuals.
If the underlying concept of the “stem cell facelift” is a useful treatment, why do we take issue with the branding of this strategy? It goes back to honesty, and relying on scientific fact rather than fictional promises. By referring to stem cells in the renaming of this procedure, the implication is that stem cells will have some kind of added rejuvenating effect that makes this a better choice than other treatments. Stem cell research is an important area of investigation in medicine today, but that has nothing to do with the stem cell facelifts being marketed. While the grafted fat does technically contain stem cells, which are present in our bodies, there is no special benefit that stem cells provide in this situation. Fat grafting can improve your facial contour and volume because it addresses tissue deficits, not because the stem cells work to rejuvenate, repair, or revitalize the face in any way. There is no evidence to support the idea that stem cells in the grafted fat are somehow targeted and stimulated during the transfer process.
“Facelift” is also a misnomer here, because a facelift is the name for a specified range of surgical procedures that tighten the lower face. This can enhance your facial features and create a more youthful appearance, as is the aim with other cosmetic procedures such as fat grafting. An actual facelift may or may not be given along with the fat grafting when you undergo a “stem cell facelift;” but this would be more accurately called a facelift and facial volumizing with grafted fat.
The right treatment for you may or may not involve fat grafting, a facelift, facial fillers, and/or another kind of treatment. Facial fillers are an option that works to safely correct volume deficiencies and in a nonsurgical way, and may be provided in conjunction with a facelift. For some, fat grafting may also be indicated to address volume deficiencies; but it is important to differentiate between each process.
Rather than opting for a cookie-cutter procedure, please see an honest, experienced, and specializing facial cosmetic surgeon who who will individually assess your goals and then custom-design your treatment plan in a way that’s right for you. For some, this may be a facelift without volumizing. For others, this may be volumizing without a facelift. The design of your personalized treatment is a complex process that can only be determined between you and your cosmetic surgeon on an individual basis, rather than by seeking a formula that’s marketed under a catchy but misleading name.
We urge you to choose a doctor who is straightforward about the nature of cosmetic surgery and the real science of why it works. Your doctor should be willing to answer all your questions openly and give you honest and evidence-based reasons why a given medical technology is proven to work. The proven benefits of the facelift and fat grafting are not scientifically attributed to stem cells; and your conversation with your doctor should never lead you to believe this is the case.
Please call us today to learn more about how a facelift, facial volumizing, and other individualized treatment approaches can help you to improve your appearance and confidence today. As an educator and Associate Clinical Professor of opthalmology at UCLA, and as a private practitioner with high ethical standards, Dr. Steinsapir will give real answers to your questions. Dr. Steinsapir personally designs every treatment plan with the individual in mind to accomplish optimal results, fast healing time, and a natural look–using safe and scientifically proven methods in a friendly, caring, communicative practice.
About Dr. Steinsapir
Dr. Steinsapir is a board certified eye surgeon and fellowship-trained in oculoplastic surgery and cosmetic surgery in Los Angeles where he specializes in balanced facial cosmetic surgery for natural results, with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques, fast recovery time, and leadership in medical technology. Dr. Steinsapir has a private practice and also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Contact us today to learn how Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and training make him an expert in cosmetic surgery, which can be a vital part of your evidence-based treatment plan.
Services described may be “off-label” and lack FDA approval. This article is informational and does not constitute an advertisement for off-label treatment. No services should be provided without a good faith examination by a licensed physician or surgeon and an informed consent with a discussion of risks, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of treatment success. Only you and your treating physician or surgeon can determine if a treatment is right for you.