‘Stem-Cell Facelifts’? Some Doctors Question Science

Some women swear by so-called stem-cell face-lifts, but doctors are calling out whether it is really any different from fat grafting, which has been around for decades. This nonsurgical procedure differs from what most people know of a face-lift, a surgical procedure that involves cutting, lifting, and removing sagging skin. A stem-cell face-lift starts with liposuction, where doctors harvest the fat and then inject into a part of the face—making it appear livelier and more youthful. But some doctors say this is a procedure that’s been around for years, and doctors have rebranded it as involving stem cells, which just happen to be in the fat. But the name doesn’t really matter to the people who swear by the results—and pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for it. Critics of the face-lift procedure insist that they are not against stem-cell research—and even say that stem cells can be a powerful way to regrow tissue—but there is little evidence that stem cells have anything to do with the procedure. The doctors who perform the procedure swear they have a method to separate the stem cells from the collagen—which technology critics say doesn’t exist yet.