ASAPS (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) has published a paper on stem cell therapy applied to aesthetic treatments.
Below is an extract.
You may have heard of the “stem cell face lift,” a “new technique using adult stem cells from the body’s own fat tissue [that] has been found to restore the plumpness, smoothness, and skin tightness of a more youthful face.”
Or perhaps you have been interested in the “stem cell breast augmentation,” also known as “natural breast augmentation,” which “employs the latest technologic advances in fat harvesting, adult stem cell transfers and breast splinting technology to provide women the option of enlarging their breasts using their own fat.”
These marketing claims, promoted as the latest cosmetic techniques based solidly on scientific fact, flood the airwaves and Internet. Although there is real hope within the plastic surgery community that stem cells may soon produce beneficial medical therapies to treat a variety of diseases, as of yet, such claims are not founded on the best science.
The ASPS and the ASAPS are committed to patient safety, advancing the quality of care, innovative treatments, and practicing medicine based upon the best available scientific evidence.
ASPS and ASAPS are eager to learn more about the use of stem cells in plastic surgery and enthusiastically support development of a stronger evidence base in the utilization of stem cells in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery procedures. In the meantime growing concerns have emerged regarding advertising claims and/or clinical practices using stem cells that have not been substantiated by scientific evidence. These concerns include:
• Use of the term “stem cell” in aesthetic surgery procedures, such as the “stem cell face lift,” with the implication of improved results.
• Claims that skin quality can be improved from stem cell treatments, and that outcomes from fat grafting can be improved with stem cell therapy.
• Widespread marketing, evidenced by a Google web search using the search terms “stem cell face lift” yielding 197,000 results and “stem cell breast augmentation yielding 302,000 results, respectively.
• A lack of consistency in how these procedures are performed and how stem cells are incorporated into the procedures.
• Instructional courses, some “for profit,” that have emerged which are designed to teach methods of stem cell extraction for aesthetic procedures.
• Many procedures being advertised by practitioners who are not board certified plastic surgeons or members of other core specialties with formal training in aesthetic procedures.
Such “noncore” practitioners have not been trained in an approved residency program designed to teach the physician safe and careful evaluation of cosmetic patients or a working knowledge of the full range of aesthetic procedures.
• Specialized equipment being marketed to physicians for use in “stem cell procedures.”
• Specialized equipment to extract stem cells, including devices, may fall under FDA regulations.
Some devices, including automated machines to separate fat stem cells from fat tissues, are not yet approved for human use in the United States.
• Claims of purifying or activating stem cells through techniques that have not been fully verified and tested for safety and efficacy in current, peer-reviewed medical journals, or claims of improved outcomes as a result of these therapies.
For reference: Google search on 4-29-11
Stem Cell Facelift: About 197,000 results
Stem Cell Breast Augmentation: About 302,000 results