Science continues to redefine itself in the area of facial rejuvenation. With an eye to the future, a recent article published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery has paved the way to new ideas and possibilities. And in the world of science, it’s all about new concepts.
While facial surgery such as facelifts, cosmetic injections, and even fat grafting have filled a vital niche for many patients opting for rejuvenation, researchers are testing to see if the human body can somehow perhaps be encouraged to stimulate facial tissue regrowth.
This area of science is called regenerative medicine.
In Vocativ, reporter Alexandra Ossola covers this recent article which was authored by Matthew Q. Miller, MD. Miller is a surgeon specializing in the head and neck regions from the University of Virginia Health System.
Ossola writes, “Though scientists’ interest in regenerative medicine has grown steadily since the early 2000s, interest in facial surgeries in particular isn’t reflected in the literature until 2010. Miller believes there are two reasons for this. Generally, facial surgeries have good outcomes—they heal quickly and have a low rate of infection, so there’s no need for dramatic improvement.”
Miller also shared that there is not “margin for error” in operative facial surgery.
“Even small imperfections can really stand out, as people’s eyes always focus on the faces of others in day-to-day interactions. Because of this, new techniques are a little slower to gain widespread acceptance among surgeons,” Miller said.
Also interviewed in the article was Richard D’ Amico who serves as the chair of the Regenerative Medicine Task Force which is a branch of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
D’Amico notes how hyaluronic acid fillers support facial structures. Fillers such as these are noted to add a more youthful appearance when volume or elasticity has dissipated due to age or premature aging. While injections of this type such as Juvederm offer a great outcome, the results are temporary lasting up to a couple of years.
While patient dependent, fat grafting is generally utilized during a facial surgery to add volume. Following liposuction of a small area such as the thighs, abdomen, or hips, the fat is then filtered via a centrifuge before the injections occur in the rejuvenation procedure
In the article, D’Amico described this process as labor intensive thus requiring it to be more expensive for the patient.
“If regenerative medicine works the way researchers think it could, patients could just get a quick injection, plus some localized anesthesia, to repair their facial tissues,” Miller writes. “And while it might not be able to repair tissues in a “Star Trek-like fashion” (that is, with a device that can heal wounds almost instantly), Miller and his co-authors write, these regenerative techniques could usher in a new age of plastic surgery for the face.”
The three levels scientists are currently focused on include the following:
- Stem Cells
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
- Protein Matrix
While more research is underway and these above scientific avenues still require more answers, it’s interesting to know how science continues to play a role in facial rejuvenation in one form or another.