Fat Stem Cell Treatment? Skin Aging Improved in New Study

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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fat stem cell treatment

Fat stem cell treatments are all around the web now, many claiming small miracles. One that’s become popular is reinjecting the fat stem cells back into the face for rejuvenation. Does this work? A new study shows that it seems to work well enough in rats.

Stem cells live throughout the body. The two most plentiful sources of your own adult stem cells are bone marrow and fat. Since many Americans have more than enough fat, isolating the stem cells from this abundant tissue and re-injecting them is becoming quite popular. While there are no shortage of clinics who claim facial rejuvenation with fat stem cell treatment, like many things in the fat stem cell world, there is scant animal or human data that this really happens.

The most recent study took rats and created simulated skin aging through the injection of a damaging chemical. They created several groups of rats including a placebo saline injection and despite the artificial damage, those rats that received fat stem cell injections in their skin had improved markers of skin aging. This occurred at a cellular and chemical level. Are there other studies that show that this fat stem cell treatment works?

In a search of the medical literature, there’s not that much else yet out there that fat stem cell treatments will reverse skin aging. I did find one 2009 review paper which quotes other animal research showing that the growth factors produced by culturing fat stem cells do have positive effects on skin collagen synthesis and wrinkling. They also inhibited skin cancer and and protected skin cells from oxidative stress induced by chemicals and UVB irradiation.

The upshot? Fat stem cell treatment for skin aging may well work in humans, but there’s scant research evidence to prove the point. There are only a handful of animal models on this topic, with most of what’s out there for fat stem cells and skin in the quasi-related world of wound healing. Should you get a fat stem cell treatment for your aging skin? Not based on the current published research, which is still in it’s infancy.

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Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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