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Stem cells used to remove under-eye wrinkles

March 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stems cells are changing the way doctors treat heart disease, Parkinson's disease and cancer. Now, one local cosmetic surgeon says stem cells are also the secret to looking younger.Doctors have been using fat for decades to help fill in wrinkles and hollowness under the eyes. But cosmetic surgeon Nathan Newman says he is doing more than a fat transfer. He is using adult stem cells as well.

"The stem cells is what brings in the new blood vessels, rebuilds the structures, maintains the volume by replacing the fat cells that die off," said Dr. Newman.

Rachel Aharon, 33, is an avid surfer who spends a lot of time in the sun. She visited Dr. Newman in hopes of treating the wrinkles underneath her eyes.

"I look at my face in the mirror and I see my face is so tired and old," said Rachel.

Artificial dermal fillers are the conventional way to treat Rachel's problems but Dr. Newman says that his stem cell lift offers a more natural and longer-lasting remedy.

"There is actually no downside to using your own stem cells, because it's yours," explained Dr. Newman. "It's natural. You don't get rejection, you don't need to go under general anesthesia, it's what was there that has been lost that we are replacing and it will incorporate into the tissue and will become part of your own tissue."

All fat has stem cells, but what Dr. Newman does is separate it out and then he adds it back in where he doubles or triples the concentration of the stem cells and the fat that he injects.

"Most of the risk is bruising and swelling," said Dr. Newman.

Critics of the technique say there is no FDA-approved way to inject stem cells so it'll be years before scientists know its safety and effectiveness. Dermatologists say traditional fat transfers can cause lumps over time.

The stem cell lift runs about $5,500 per area.

Just two weeks after her procedure, Rachel was thrilled. "I look in the mirror and I love what I see. This is me, this is my smile, this is my skin, It's not fake," said Rachel.