Stem Cell Facelift

Stem Cell Facelift: The Other Side

One of the biggest controversies — and hot topics — in facial plastic surgery today is the stem cell facelift. Is there really such a thing? The answer depends wholly on who you ask.

Sam S. Rizk, MD, director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery in New York City, responds to our stem cell face lift article. Here's what he had to say:

"Some doctors are touting a 'stem cell facelift' just by adding fat to facial areas. This is a misnomer if they are just using fat transfer.

Courtesy of AAFPRS

My variation on the technique involves a modified facelift type known as a deep plane facelift procedure with the addition of carefully placed pure fat to improve contours, skin quality and texture. This offers additional support for aging tissues and a myriad of rejuvenating benefits in terms of outcomes and long term results.

There is substantial evidence that fat contains adult stem cells which may enhance its ability to rejuvenate the quality and texture of the skin and to promote healing. In fact, the use of stem cells from fat is currently being investigated around the world for the treatment of many conditions including cardiovascular disease and wound healing.

Some U.S. experts state that there are no approved fat processing techniques that yield higher concentrations of adult stem cells, but the Cytori Celution System does separate stem cells and is being used in Asia, Europe, Israel, and also off label in the U.S. Some surgeons here use this system in selected cases.

As surgeons, we have to continually strive to improve the methods we use in practice to not only meet but to exceed our patients' goals and expectations. I remain encouraged about future research underway utilizing the potency of fat derived adult stem cells in regenerative medicine. This category is poised to be the next frontier of cosmetic surgery."

About the Reviewer of this Article

Sam S. Rizk, MD, FACS, is a recognized expert on the latest advances in facial plastic surgery techniques and has written and lectured extensively on current concepts. He is a double-board-certified New York facial plastic surgeon and is director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery, PLLC. Dr. Rizk received his medical degree in the accelerated honors program at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He completed an internship in general surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and did his residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery/facial plastic surgery at New York Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. Dr. Rizk also completed an American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery-certified fellowship in facial plastic surgery in California. He is on staff at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. For more information on Dr. Rizk, visit his website,

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