Back before Christmas, I tried a major facial rejuvenation procedure which involved having fat removed from my thighs, mined for its stem cells, then re-injected into my face.
This is a procedure that uses stem cells and fat taken from your own body to rejuvenate the face. We think of stem cells as something you find in the bone marrow —but you also find them in adult fat cells. Stem cells are the healing cells of the body and if they are extracted and re-injected in the face they can help regenerate the facial tissues.
It's rather more than a tweakment, as it involved liposuction to extract the fat, and was done in an operating theatre at the Cadogan Clinic in central London by leading plastic surgeon Tunc Tiryaki.
Here's a video I've made to talk about the whole experience.
I've also linked, below, to other videos where I have talked about the procedure
What is regenerative medicine?
Stem-cell assisted fat transfer is part of a specialty called regenerative medicine, which means taking tissues from the body such as platelet rich plasma from the blood, or stem cells from the body, and using them to repair other parts of the body. It used for repairing joints and muscles, so it’s not just cosmetic.
I filmed an interview with Mr Tiryaki at the Royal Society of Medicine, 29th Nov 2019, the day before my procedure.
Why I was curious about this procedure is because as we get older, we lose bone, muscle and fat from the face, so the effect is like a balloon deflating within our skin, so the skin starts to sag. If you have a facelift, you just end up with tight skin over the withered frame of bone and muscle. But if you can fill the contours of the face back out from the inside….
You could achieve this restructuring and revolumising with injectable fillers, but those will only last for a couple of years.
But if you rebuild the face from inside with fat, and it can grow its own blood supply and settle in the new position in the face, it will last for many years. The stem cells are also used to reinvigorate the body.
Here's a video of Mr Tiryaki marking up my face and explaining exactly what he's going to be doing, for the benefit of the surgeons watching on the live link to the conference at the RSM, 30th November 2019
Stem-cell assisted fat transfer is more than a tweakment, as anaesthetia is involved—a general anaesthetic in my case. Extracting fat meant liposuction, to get hold of around 130cc of fat—say eight tablespoonsful. This fat is then made into a kind of soupy liquid that is centrifuged to separate off the ‘stromal vascular fraction’, which is a miracle broth full of stem cells which can kick-start the regeneration in the tissue.
First, the stem cells are injected on their own along the bony arches of the face—the forehead arch, the cheek arch and the chin arch—then the fat is used like a filler, mixed with stem cells so that it has a better chance of surviving, in the temples, the brow arches, the cheeks, the jaw, the chin and also into my nose to perk it up.
Finally, the remaining SVF is worked into the skin using microneedling, to help regenerate the skin.
How did I feel after the procedure?
Two days later: the post-procedure dip
Surgeon's assessment 10 days post procedure
10 days after the procedure, I went back to the Cadogan Clinic for a catch-up and assessment with Mr Tiryaki.
two weeks post procedure
Daily mail write-up
Follow the link to read the full article about the procedure in the Daily Mail online.
Stem-cell assisted fat transfer costs around £7,000 at the Cadogan Clinic
(I didn’t pay for the procedure as I was a demo model for a surgical meeting.)
For more information about Mr Tiryaki see his profile page on my website.