A number of cosmetic surgeries have been devised by modern medicine to lift the face and reduce wrinkles in an effort to hold back the hands of time. Until the turn of the 21st century, these procedures were typically invasive and often left visible scars. A stem cell face lift was devised in 2006, however, that involves extracting stem-cell-rich fat tissue from the abdomen, combining it with a stem cell growth factor, and injecting it into areas of the face in a manner similar to other common facial fillers like Botox® or Juvederm®. This non-invasive treatment also has proven to reduce skin blemishes and adult-onset acne, which strikes four women for every one man.
The stem cell face lift was devised by New Jersey cosmetic surgeon Vincent Giampapa, a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, who also serves as director for the Plastic Surgery Center Internationalé. Giampapa first unveiled this technique at the Paris conference of the World Academy of Anti-Aging and Cosmetic Medicine. Since then, it has gained worldwide acceptance.
This procedure hinges on the use of a person's own stem cells — malleable cellular structures that can be coaxed into performing other duties. Liposuction is performed at the waistline, and the stem cells are extracted from the adipose tissue. By mixing these isolated stem cells with so-called growth factor, even more stem cells are born. These are then remixed with the patient's fat and injected at sites around the face for a stem cell face lift that reportedly fills out the face, reduces wrinkles, and improves skin tone.
Since the recipient of the stem cells is also the donor, the possibility for tissue rejection is moot for recipients of a stem cell face lift. Though as of 2011 further study appears to be needed to quantify the claims made about this type of procedure, many plastic surgeons agree that it is a marked improvement from other filler procedures. These inject artificial materials made of hyaluronic acid, with names like Jevederm® or Restylane® — each with the potential for inducing an allergic reaction. Further, this new procedure is the only one with allegedly constructive properties, able to generate new tissue while forming to the body naturally.
Not all physicians offer the stem cell face lift in 2011, despite mounting anecdotal and photographic evidence of its effectiveness. Due to this, many patients still opt for an invasive procedure. For the forehead and mid-face, small incisions can be hidden behind the hairline, with an endoscopic camera and thin probes inserted to do the work. When full endoscopic face lifts are undertaken, however, cuts are likely needed in more conspicuous locations, such as under the chin or around the ears.