In Your Face

May 10th, 2013

Spending upwards of $10,000 to have your love handles injected into your face sounds appealing for so many reasons, but is it really what you think it is?

In another new and exciting attempt to combat the steady march of time and gravity, women are getting “stem cell facelifts,” or procedures that involve injecting liposuctioned fat into the face in order to plump up sagging skin.

Stem cell facelifts are not really facelifts, and may not really use stem cells in any significant way. A facelift, traditionally, involves surgical removal of excess skin on the face and neck to create the appearance of tighter, wrinkle-free skin. A stem cell facelift supposedly reduces the appearance of wrinkles by plumping them with stem cells derived from fat, which may be able to generate new tissue. But not everyone is convinced that this procedure is legitimate and the FDA has not approved these procedures.

Dr. Karol Gutowski, a plastic surgeon in Northbrook, Ill. told the New York Times:

I’m convinced that 90 percent of the doctors promising this are just taking the fat, spinning it in a centrifuge a bit and injecting it into the face. They’re essentially doing fat grafting, which has been around decades, and any stem cells that happen to be in that fat are just coming along for the ride.

The article notes that an American Society for Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery task force found that “the marketing and promotion of stem cell procedures in aesthetic surgery is not adequately supported [by] clinical evidence at this time.”

And, as with all medical procedures, you should talk to your physician and research the risks and benefits.

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