Recently, Allure magazine published an article on the 11 most overrated plastic surgical procedures. Amongst the different procedures that the article discussed were “the vampire facelift” and “the stem cell facelift.”
In our consumer-driven world, marketing sometimes can take center stage, and actually replace valuable information.
As consumers, we don’t want to hear that the only way to achieve lasting weight loss is through diet or exercise; nor do we want to hear that the only way bto get rid of our persistent jowls and turkey neck is with a facelift. Instead, we listen to the marketers who typically offer us expensive technologies with no surgery and short recovery.
The thought of a surgical facelift in Oklahoma City scares many women. Many people fear surgery – it usually means having an anesthetic, incisions and scars, and recovery time. That is why the marketing behind less invasive procedures – such as the vampire facelift, the stem cell facelift, or fillers and Botox – is so powerful. The truth is that each of these procedures has a role and represents another tool that the surgeon can use alone or in combination to help you, the patient.
The premise behind the stem cell facelift or the vampire facelift is that the face can be rejuvenated by the injection of “stem cells.” (The vampire face lift claims to use stem cells as well but is a trademarked or name-brand procedure.) The stem cells under this circumstance are contained in fat cells that are harvested through modifications of liposuction techniques.
During the past five to 10 years, research has focused on the idea that this fat may contain stem cells in specific layers. Stem cells are immature cells that have the potential to become differentiated cells. However, this theory is still in the research phase, and we are not yet at the point where we can definitively claim to our patients that we are injecting stem cells. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) recently published a position statement on this topic and advised caution, saying that there is little objective evidence yet. All the more reason to make sure you fully understand cosmetic procedures in Oklahoma.
Even if we aren’t injecting stem cells, we are injecting fat. The idea behind injecting fat into the face comes from the fact that as we age, we lose facial volume through fat atrophy in addition to the downward descent from weakening of our facial ligaments – in other words, we lose fat and we sag. Hence, many surgeons are now combining fat grafting with their facelift procedures to correct both aspects of the aging process. The loss of facial fat is
also where fillers like Restylane and Juvederm can play a role.
Fat grafting, as a surgical technique, has been around for decades (and it is a cosmetic procedure in Oklahoma city). It has been used to fill wrinkles on the face, improve breast contour following reconstruction, and correct contour irregularities after liposuction. Fat grafting involves removing fat – usually by liposuction – purifying it in some way (either thru centrifugation, filtration, or gravity decantation), and then injecting it into the desired area to achieve the desired effect. Typically, anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent of the injected fat will obtain a blood supply from the surrounding tissues and “take”, becoming a permanent part of you.
Some patients may benefit from fat grafting alone, while others may benefit from a combination of fat grafting and a surgical facelift. The exact combination of procedures that are employed will depend on your goals and expectations. Nevertheless, I encourage all prospective patients to do their research, and not become the victims of marketing hype.