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Experts Skeptical about Stem Cell Facelifts

lower half of a woman's faceCould stem cell facelifts be the next trend in cosmetic surgery? Experts weigh in on the procedure in a recent report in the L.A. Times.

The article reports that there are already a small number of U.S. cosmetic surgeons performing the procedure, which involves isolating stem cells from a patient’s own fat and injecting them into the face for a purported rejuvenating effect. With a stem cell facelift, there’s no need for incisions or general anesthesia like there is for a traditional facelift, making it less invasive.

Dr. Nathan Newman is a cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills who has performed the procedure more than 200 times in the last five years and says he has had “fantastic results.”

However, there is little evidence of whether it is effective and how it works. Dr. J. Peter Rubin, co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center at the University of Pittsburgh, says that while he’s excited about the potential of stem cells for cosmetic uses, there are many unanswered questions about their use for cosmetic procedures. “Claims are being made that are not supported by the evidence,” he says.

Rubin think it’s possible that injected stem cells could create new collagen and blood vessels (which they’ve been shown to do in animals studies) but such results haven’t been proved in humans. Rubin adds that no one really knows how the stem cells are behaving. Fat injections alone can improve a person’s appearance—without stem cells—he points out.

Plastic surgeon Michael McGuire, MD, concurs. He thinks that stem cell facelifts could offer real advances in cosmetic medicine in the future, but that it is still at least ten years away.”Stem cells have incredible potential. But nobody knows exactly what they do. So they’re marketed to do everything,” he says.

Learn more about facelift surgery in Tucson, Arizona.

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