Fat Grafting, with concentrated stem cells is the process of adding volume to areas of the body, particularly the face, with high amounts of stem cells to help repair cellular damage and rejuvenate the skin. This procedure is often referred to as stem cell enhanced fat grafting. Fat grafting with stem cells harvests fat from one area of the patient’s body and then processes the fat. The processed and enriched fat is then meticulously reinjected into the lacking area. Fat grafting with concentrated stem cells plumps up the skin, improves texture and also decreases wrinkles, fine lines and pore size.
A GOOD CANDIDATE for fat grafting with concentrated stem cells includes:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for fat grafting with concentrated stem cells:
Stem cell enriched fat grafting is usually an outpatient procedure which can be performed under general anesthetic or local anesthetic with sedation. The procedure time varies depending on how much fat is being removed and the area it is being transferred to. During the procedure, the surgeon injects a large amount of tumescent fluid into the donor area. The donor area can be just about any area of the body but the lower abdomen and inner thighs are usually a good source of fat and have a higher concentration of stem cells. The tumescent fluid will help to break down the fat for easier removal via liposuction.
Small incisions will be made and a cannula will be inserted to suction out the fat. The fat is placed in a centrifuge to separate the fat from the fluids and then the fat is purified. As the harvested fat is spun down, it is placed in 10-cc syringes. The first 2-ccs of fat, from the 10-cc syringes, is the larger and heavier cells and also the highest concentration of stem cells. These first 2-ccs are injected in the most critical areas around the eyes or where discoloration in the skin occurs. The doctor injects the fat by making multiple passes with fine catheters while using a microdroplet technique. This allows the fat to be placed in a natural way without causing lumps, bumps or unevenness.
The stem cells within the harvested fat will encourage the growth of new blood vessels to nourish the transplanted fat. They may also stimulate the production of new fat cells. When larger volumes are being transferred in areas such as the breasts or buttocks, the stem cells still make an impact. However, they are not as concentrated as they would be in small volume transfers of the facial region.
The cost of fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can range from $3000 to $15,000. The cost depends on the number of areas being treated and how much fat is being transferred. This cost can also vary due to the area of the country where it is performed as well as fees charged by the surgeon and the facility.
RECOVERY after fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can take between 3 to 10 days. The length of time depends on the age of the patient and any health factors. Patients that are only having fat grafting on the face have less recovery time than someone having the breasts or buttocks augmented. Patients can expect some mild redness and swelling of the skin in the recipient area that will resolve after 8 to 10 days. At this point, patients can wear makeup to cover any residual discoloration. Cold compresses can be used for discomfort and swelling. They cannot wear an ice pack since this degree of coldness can damage the newly injected fat cells.
Patients are encouraged to sleep at an elevated level for the first few weeks of DOWNTIME to minimize facial swelling. For fat grafting of the buttocks, patients will not be permitted to sit directly on the buttocks for the first 3 weeks since pressure can cause the newly grafted fat to shift and/or not survive. The donor area may take longer to heal since several small incisions may be made and liposuction can cause the area to be red, swollen, bruised and sore for several weeks. The incisions are usually too small to need sutures but surgical bandages will be placed over the wound.
A compression garment will be placed around the treatment area to minimize the swelling and help shrink the skin. This garment will be worn for 24 hours a day for several weeks. Small drainage tubes may be placed just under the skin at the liposuction wounds. These drainage tubes allow excess fluid and blood to drain from the site and keep it from accumulating under the skin. The tubes are usually removed within the first week after surgery. Patients should limit their activities for the first 4 weeks. Running, jogging and heavy lifting can cause further swelling and bruising and should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks.
Results from fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can be seen after approximately 10 days when most of the swelling and bruising has subsided. While a portion of the fat will not survive the transfer, approximately 60%-70% will provide long term results. The percentage of fat that does not survive the transfer will be naturally absorbed by the body and excreted within 6 weeks. Over the first few months, improvements will continue as the stem cells continue to repair the tissue and skin. The effects of the surgery will stabilize around 6-8 months, but the quality and texture of the skin will continue to improve for up to 12 months. The final results can be seen after a year. To maintain the results, patients should maintain a stable weight since weight fluctuations can impact the results of fat grafting. Over time, the effects of fat grafting will diminish as volume is lost with the natural aging process.
The limitations of fat grafting with concentrated stem cells include:
The risks involved with fat grafting with concentrated stem cells include:
Fat grafting can be done with or without concentrated stem cells. However, the high level of stem cells has a better survival rate since these cells have powerful growth factors which enhance tissue healing and promote the growth of new blood vessels. Furthermore, stem cells are considered “undifferentiated cells” capable of becoming a different type of cell. When placed next to the skin, stem cells regenerate tissue and skin. If they are put into fatty tissue, such as the buttocks or breasts, they become fat cells. Fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can add volume where it is needed and the stem cells can provide skin rejuvenation for years.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - SP
Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Russell Sassani in Fort Lauderdale, FL