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Stem Cells: The Future of Injectable Fillers

Posted: 6:00 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017

By Anita Mandal, M.D.
Question: I know stem cells are being used in medicine for regrowing tissue and helping certain diseases, but how do stems cells work for facial rejuvenation?

Answer: The use of stem cells in the cosmetic industry for facial rejuvenation is a relatively recent development. Stem cells for regenerative purposes are being used in traditional medicine for longer. We know that certain types of stem cells can differentiate into tissue-specific cells when provided with the proper stimulus and placed in the right environment.

Protein rich plasma (PRP) is known to contain certain growth factors which can signal stem cells to differentiate. When stem cells are mixed with PRP and injected into skin tissues, these stem cells can differentiate into collagen-producing skin cells. Since much of facial aging is a result of increased collagen breakdown with loss of overall collagen and elastin, collagen-stimulating substances to help restore the collagen balance in our face can give a more refreshed, youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

I use a cutting-edge technology to harvest stem cells from your own body and re-inject them into the facial tissues to restore a more youthful facial appearance. Various tissues in the body are an important source of stem cells, including bone marrow as well as fat or adipose tissue. In my practice, stem cells are harvested from fatty tissue in the stomach or hips in about 10 minutes, using a small syringe and lidocaine solution for numbing.

The stem cells are then mixed with PRP prepared from drawing just one tube of your blood and spinning in the centrifuge for 10 minutes. It’s important to realize that these are not fat injections. It’s the stem cells that are being harvested from your fatty tissue. The goal is to extract and use the stem cells rather than your actual fat. This entire process takes just 30 to 40 minutes before the stem cells are ready for injection into the face.

Stem cell filler is then injected into the face just like any standard filler. The difference is that 15 to 20 ml or more of stem cell material can be prepared and injected into your face in just one 30 minute session. Another benefit of stem cell fillers, compared to the commercially available fillers, is that stem cells can be injected at various levels within the facial tissues, ranging from very superficial lines of the upper lips and crows feet, to deeper nasolabial folds and marionette lines as well as hollow cheeks and temples. Patients often notice a healthy, youthful glow to their facial skin immediately following treatment.

Unlike commercial fillers which typically contain some foreign component, which is not part of our own bodies, these stem cell filler preparations come from your own body without the risk of allergic reaction. As long as you have some adipose tissue in you flanks or abdomen, a fairy large volume of stem cells for filler injections can be harvested and prepared for use in a single facial rejuvenation injection session.

A one-on-one detailed consultation with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon is the first step in determining whether you are a good candidate for a stem cell filler versus other commercial fillers.

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