For now, however, given present processing methods, it’s a stretch to assume that stem cells in fat transfers “are really making a critical difference in outcomes beyond providing a cell population that is more robust in surviving transplantation,” he said.
Explore this issue:September 2011
One might think that Dr. Coleman, who believes strongly in the contributions made to clinical outcomes by stem cell content in fat grafts, might have an issue with professional societies and individual surgeons advocating a go-slow attitude with the technology. But he’s staunchly in their camp, at least when it comes to marketing claims that tout the benefits of “stem cell facelifts.”
—Samuel M. Lam, MD
“I find it unbelievably difficult to understand how some of these surgeons are now making a new claim of miraculous rejuvenation from the same fat grafts we have been injecting for twenty-five years. They’re not using a new technique or an innovative device. They’re just using the term ‘stem cell’ to market themselves as having a procedure that their competitor surgeons cannot provide, and I think that’s unconscionable.”
The debate over ASCs promises to continue, given the preliminary nature of the relevant research. As for the more practical consideration of just how extensive a facial reconstruction should be attempted with fat grafts, Dr. Coleman added this final consideration: “I use my technique of fat grafting primarily for cosmetic repairs such as restoring facial tissue that has atrophied due to aging, acne, accidents or disease. But, in select cases, it can be a very effective filler for larger defects.” In fact, he added, “it really should be considered to be the best choice for a soft tissue filler.” ENT TODAY