Stem cells are a type of cells that can be found in our body naturally and can develop into different other types of tissues under the right circumstances. Because of their versatile properties, the stem cell skin care industry has been working to find ways to use these cells in more skin care treatments. One treatment is an alternative to surgery, and is referred to as a stem cell facelift. This treatment is a non-surgical anti aging procedure that uses cells from your body to treat specific areas of your face. During this procedure, stem cells from another part of your body (usually the lower half) are injected into problem areas on the face to tighten skin and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Compared to the surgical facelift methods, the stem cell facelift doesn’t involve any major surgical incisions, and does not involve the lifting or suturing of facial skin. It is an advanced form of the traditional fat grafting techniques, with more emphasis on the stem cells than on the fat or adipose.
How is it done?
The stem cell facelift treatment starts with the administration of a local anesthesia to the patient. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used during a stem cell facelift, depending on the doctor’s assessment of the patient’s needs. The area from which the cells are to be harvested, usually the thighs, abdomen, flanks or hips, is disinfected using an antibacterial soap to decrease the chance of infection. Since the fat is to be removed by liposuction, an incision is made at the donor site and a tumescent fluid is injected into the area. A small cannula is used to extract the fat containing the stem cells. These cells are then isolated and mixed with a small amount of fat that will be used in the injection. Growth factors, embedded with micro-hyaluronic acid beads are added to this mixture of stem cells and enriched fat.
Tiny incisions of about 2-3mm will also be made on the face of the patient, within the natural lines and creases. The fat is then injected in small amounts into three facial layers. This prevents clumping and helps the injected fat spread more evenly. The layered injection process of the stem cell facelift is different from traditional fat grafting, where only one layer is injected with fat. The first layer is in the mid face, near the bones. The second injection layer is in the facial muscles, and the third layer is just below the skin surface. The stem cell facelift is completed with a chemical resurfacing of the skin. This is done to remove fine lines as well as to stimulate the stem cells present underneath.
Where can it be used?
Age causes a loss of tissue volume and a stem cell facelift can be a viable option for improving the appearance of aging skin. Areas where this can be useful are the hollows under the eyes, jawline, temples, cheek, laugh lines, lips, chin and nasolabial folds.
How much does a stem cell facelift cost?
Depending on the extent of skin damage and the amount of the size of the treatment area, the stem cell treatment can cost between $8000 and $10,000. Some doctors may charge as much as $15,000 – $20,000. Therefore the city where your doctor’s office is located and the experience of the skin care specialist you consult can be a determining factor of the final cost.
How long does it last?
The effects of a stem cell facelift typically lasts for five to six years. However, if regular care is taken, along with changes in diet and lifestyle, the longevity can be extended up to 8-10 years.
Are there any side effects associated with Stem Cell Facelifts?
Because the fat acquired during a stem cell facelift is from the patient’s own body, there is less of a chance of serious side effects or tissue rejection. There will be minimal bruising and swelling and due to the small size of the incisions, relatively little scarring. Most patients recover within 7-10 days of the facelift.
Some believe that the newly injected stem cells can produce collagen; however, it is yet to be proven in humans. Also, keep in mind that some doctors may perform this procedure without isolating and concentrating the stem cells. In such cases, what you may be receiving is just general fat grafting, and not the actual multi-layered stem cell facelift.
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