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Fat vs stem cells: rejuvenation results

Article-Fat vs stem cells: rejuvenation results

Two different fat grafting approaches — one with fat and stromal vascular fraction, the other with expanded mesenchymal stem cells — both modify the pattern of the dermis and have a skin rejuvenation effect, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"… this is the first study presenting clinical evidence showing skin rejuvenation after fat grafting and highlighting the anatomical and structural changes that are the basis of this rejuvenation," the study’s lead author Gino Rigotti, M.D., of Clinica San Francesco, Verona, Italy, says in a press release.

Since facial rejuvenation results were found to be similar whether injecting fat cells or fat-derived stem cells, the researchers say the simple approach using fat cells and stromal vascular fraction offers an advantage over the more time-consuming stem cell fat treatment, which also involves a higher cost and potential regulatory problems.

Italian and Brazilian researchers, led by Dr. Rigotti, compared these fat grafting approaches by conducting a clinical study on six middle-aged patients who were facelift candidates. Patients were treated with one or the other fat grafting technique in the front of the ear. One group received fat-derived stem cells; the other group received fat cell injections along with stromal vascular fraction.

Researchers compared histological, histochemical and ultrastructural changes of patients’ skin before and three months after treatment.

Post treatment skin samples from both groups showed nearly identical evidence of elastosis disappearance. The evidence also suggests the rejuvenating effects of fat grafting are related to new formation of microscopic blood vessels and young elastic fibers. However, more studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis, according to Dr. Rigotti.

“The regenerative property of the fat graft has been described. However, it is not clear whether the clinical results are due to the stem cells or are linked to other components of the adipose tissue,” Dr. Rigotti tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “We probably have demonstrated the role of stem cells because they are the only common component present both in fat and in the solution containing the expanded cultured cells.”

Considering that the researchers obtained the same results with fat or expanded mesenchymal stem cells, there is no reason to use the procedure that involves a high cost and potential regulatory problems, Dr. Rigotti says.  

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