January 14, 2012
Plastic Surgeons Use Cell Therapies For Facial Upgrades

Check out this piece in the Miami Herald. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are injecting fat cells and stem cells into facial regions to plump up faces for a more youthful look.

But some South Florida plastic surgeons and dermatologists are expanding their repertoire to include new options, such as injecting fat or stem cells into the face, as well as using ultrasound technology to tighten sagging skin. Im doing a lot of fat, said Dr. Constantino Mendieta, a Miami plastic surgeon and spokesman for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who is using fat as a natural way to add volume to the face. As we age, we tend to lose fat from the face, as well as from the hands, derriere and breasts, Mendieta said.

I've been expecting the plastic surgeons to take an aggressive approach to use of cell therapies than most medical specialties. Plastic surgery is one of most free market-oriented areas of medicine. Usually patients pay with their own money. The potential pool of patients is far larger than the number who currently use plastic surgeons. Better treatments will pull in more customers and generate bigger incomes for the surgeons. The plastic surgeons already have a history of innovation.

The good news as I see it: If people start spending large amounts of money on appearance-improving cell therapies their money will fund a biotech industry for stem cell manipulation that will use part of their revenue to improve their capabilities for manipulating and improving stem cells. Consumer dollars spent on cell therapies will accelerate the eventual development of real rejuvenation therapies that extend life.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 January 14 08:14 PM  Biotech Skin Improvement

PacRim Jim said at January 14, 2012 10:27 PM:

Appearance is a diversion. Health is the objective.

That Guy said at January 14, 2012 10:54 PM:

To me, it seems that the restoration of depleted subcutaneous fat depots is already a rejuvenation biotechnology of sorts. It addresses a type of damage that occurs with aging, although not one that's thought to have an impact on lifespan. Has anyone investigated that question? Fat contributes to metabolism and metabolism is heavily entangled with the longevity question.

One might say that if the goal is halting or reversal of aging, this sort of technique is even neccessary though perhaps not the highest priority in the program. Better to feel young than to look young but better still both.

Michael L said at January 15, 2012 5:38 AM:

IMHO a more interesting related question would be the reverse, how to permanently remove the extra fat from the face to prevent facial features from altering (becoming less sharp, more rounded and hence "adult", "mature") as we get fatter heading into middle age. Obviously they already surgically remove and otherwise sculpt fat when altering facial features, but wouldn't it grow back in? Wikipedia articles lack details.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2012 1:10 PM:

PacRim Jim,

But my point is that the money people spend in stem cell treatment in order to look better will fund refinements in biotechnology that will make the stem cell treatments useful for life extension.

What we need: a web site where people can upload their before and after photos of fat and stem cell facial therapies with pictures going over a period of years. The web site would need software for image analysis that can measure changes in fullness of the face over time. Then different therapies could be compared for efficacy.

That Guy,

One source puts skin at 12% to 15% of body weight. If plastic surgeons and dermatologists pioneer treatments that will off old skin and inject more youthful and healthy stem cells then a substantial portion of the body could be rejuvenated. I like that millions of people will pay thousands or tens of thousands to try treatments that are in this direction. Venture capitalists will fund start-ups aimed at surface rejuvenation because the populace will spend the money.

Heck, when I hit my 60s I'll be willing to spend $50k to rejuvenate my entire surface area.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2012 1:12 PM:

The SENS Foundation's ApoptoSENS might turn out to be the foundation for skin rejuvenation. Get rid of the bad cells and then the remaining good cells will divide to replace them.

Russ said at January 16, 2012 6:36 AM:

Good news.

Appearance is a "diversion" for health, but important for QOL, which ties into health. Employability, salary, all that. We're not rational beings, and attractiveness factors into all of these things much more strongly than a lot of folks would like to admit.

apetra said at January 16, 2012 10:52 AM:

sad it's come to this.

Obamacare (and even the prospect that its next phases will go forward) has brought so much life and cost saving innovation to a standstill. it's a tragedy. shorter lives and a lost generation.

TTT said at January 16, 2012 3:34 PM:

I wonder how much 'better' this is than facelifts of 10 years ago.

As it stands now, even wealthy celebs look horrible after plastic surgery (see Joan Rivers, Wayne Newton, Donatella Versaci, Nikki Cox, etc.).

But if this technology greatly improves faces (and not just for age, but for actual sculpting), that is beneficial. I am in favor of anything that can make all women gain a point or two on a 1-10 scale.

TTT said at January 16, 2012 3:35 PM:

's a tragedy. shorter lives and a lost generation.

Relax. It is easier than ever before to go overseas, where the free market is working.

Ben said at January 16, 2012 4:05 PM:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Skin rejuvenation is essential if we are to break the back of the pro aging trance. The current mindset that aging is good and natural is a product of the trajectory of our physical deterioration being linear. If an individual is forty they look forty, and so society perceives "forty-ness" as a part of their identity. In other words, the prevailing view is that a person of forty years is SUPPOSED to look how they do because that is WHO THEY ARE, as opposed to aging being something terrible that happened to them against their will.

It is therefore accepted that this same person will get sicker and sicker until they die and that there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is as it should be.

The moment a forty year old (or a fifty year old, or an eighty year old) can be rejuvenated to look twenty again is the moment that fundamental assumption about aging goes out the door. Polite society would be thrown into a state of chaos and existential confusion about the subject of aging and the merits of curing it. Once such cosmetic therapies exist anyone who chooses to use them is making a statement, as is anyone who chooses not to. Everyone is forced to pick sides, and everyone is forced to ponder the question of why someone who genuinely looks twenty years old should be expected to suffer and die simply because their cells have accumulated mutations and other junk inside and around them.

Curing the disfigurement of aging should be a priority for those of us who believe defeating aging is important. People don't read medical journals and don't care about the advances we are making. But they can't avoid being challenged by the middle aged man down the street who goes to a clinic and comes out looking like a College freshman.

Tabatha said at January 18, 2012 4:18 PM:

Healthy skin is more attractive in appearance, in my humble opinion, regardless of the age of the individual. More often than not, I believe people with healthy skin do appear younger. Will the quest for beauty propel better health? Here's hoping. It would be a shame if it only created vanity ;) I do know the skin product I use now (Nerium AD) makes my skin both look better and feel healthier. I sincerely hope improved health with the side effect of improved appearance is the direction the industry is headed toward.

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