Miami plastic surgeons serve up a mix of fat and stem cells

January 31, 2012

Stem cell injections are promising, but marketing claims precede scientific facts.
Stem cell injections are promising, but marketing claims precede scientific facts.

Miami plastic surgeons are moving fat from its unwelcome home in areas such as your thighs and stomach and relocating it where you can use it – in your face, derriere, hands and breasts. As in any renewal project, the result is a “you-haul” or overhaul to restore areas of the face that have been ravished by time.

The recipe: take one tablespoon of fat from the patient’s lower stomach or inner knees. Then, take some of the patient’ blood and spin it to get platelet-rich plasma. Mix the plasma with the fat so that the fat survives longer. According to a Miami plastic surgeon, “If I can get that fat cell to live, it will live as long as that fat cell was destined…..and some fat seems to live forever.”

Finally, inject the mixture in the patient’s lips, nasolabial folds, eye hollows or jawline and enjoy the results.

Some plastic surgeons beef up the recipe by injecting the patient’s own stem cells into the face along with the fat. A plastic surgeon interviewed by the Miami Herald on January 14th, 2012, says, “Recent research has shown the highest concentration of adult stem cells is found in someone’s own fat.”

During a facelift, this surgeon removes fat from a patient’s abdomen, love handles or outer thighs. He injects the fat into the patient’s face but at the same time sends a portion of the fat to a lab in Indiana where the stem cells are separated from the fat. The lab stores the patient’s stem cells in syringes and returns them to the doctor within two weeks. Alternately, the lab can cryopreserve the syringes and store them indefinitely for the patient’s future use.

The stem cells are then injected into the wrinkles around the mouth, cheek or forehead to supposedly stimulate increased blood supply to the area and also to stimulate collagen formation to make the face look fuller and healthier. Results are not supposed to be visible for a few weeks to a month (or longer) because this is a slowly evolving process.

But, consumers beware. For now, stem cell injections for aesthetic purposes are a leap of faith. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the two leading plastic surgery societies in the United States, the marketing and promotion of stem cell procedures in aesthetic surgery is not adequately supported by clinical evidence at this time.  Stem cell injections are seen as “promising,” but marketing claims are way ahead of the science. For more information, speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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