The new landscape in cosmetic surgery is the ability to use cellular therapies to help organize cellular structures and improve aesthetic outcomes from the “inside out” rather than the “outside in,” according to a presenter who offered his insights during The Aesthetic Visionaries presentations today at The Aesthetic Show in Las Vegas.
“Cell therapy and regenerative medicine are replacing, in a lot of ways, what we traditionally accomplished with medication and surgeries,” said Ryan Welter, M.D., PhD, a cosmetic surgeon in private practice in Boston.
New tools range from platelet rich plasma (PRP) to stem cell therapy from adipose tissue to adipose tissue itself.
“These are cell interactions,” Dr. Welter said. “As we start to gain a better understanding of the cell architecture and cell-cell interactions, we can truly augment what we are seeing from a cosmetic standpoint. We can also perform less of a surgical procedure and more of a cell-based procedure.”
For example, on the face, PRP and microneedling are combined to help induce collagen. But more recently, dermatologists and plastic surgeons are using growth factors from stem cell serums, as well as stem cells themselves that are isolated from adipose tissue.
“All these are having a positive cosmetic effect,” Dr. Welter said.
In fact, for the past few years, Dr. Welter has been doing complete cell-based facelifts that do not require any surgery. “Results are similar to a traditional facelift,” he said.
These facelifts require a series of fillers and injections that allow for cell-based interactions, increased collagen formulation and basically improving the youthfulness of the skin.
Such a technique has also been successful in the urogenital arena: penile enhancement for men and the O-Shot for women to help with sexual function.
Another example is using fat grafts that survive longer for breast augmentation by adding cell-based therapy.
Dr. Welter recently pioneered a complete cell-based breast augmentation.
“Although in its infancy, it is showing good results,” he said. “For this procedure, we are avoiding fat grating all together. Instead, we are using other cell-based materials from the body to help enhance breast tissue.”
Dr. Welter said although the results are not as promising as an implant, they are still amazing, “considering they are basically cell-based therapies that stimulate the breast tissue to proliferate in a better manner, so you have augmentation without surgery.”
All these cell-based therapies have been shown to be extremely safe, according to Dr. Welter.
“And, certainly, a lot of them are much safer than traditional surgical procedures,” he said. “We are either simply drawing blood or harvesting a small amount of fat and processing the fat to obtain cells.”
There are also other cell lines now available, including autologous and base and cell membranes from sources like porcine-derived extracellular matrix which can help provide scaffolding to the cells.