Doctors have been using fat for decades to help fill in hollowness under the eyes. But Beverly Hills dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Nathan Newman, is adding something to the normal fat transfer process: adult stem cells.
"The stem cells is what brings in the new blood vessels, rebuilds structures, maintains volume by replacing the fat cells that die off," said Newman.
Thirty-three-year-old Rachel Aharon is an avid surfer who has spent years in the sun.
"I look at my face in the mirror and I see that my face is so tired and old," said Aharon.
Common treatments include artificial dermal fillers, but Dr. Newman believes the stem cell technique can produce longer lasting results. First the stem cells are separated from the fat, cultured, then re-injected after the transfer in greater numbers.
"There's actually no downside to using your own stem cells because, it's yours, it's natural, you don't get rejection you don't need to go under general anesthesia. It's what was there, that's been lost that we're replacing. And will incorporate into the tissues and become part of the tissues," said Newman.
Critics of the technique say there is no FDA approved way to inject stem cells and no evidence of its effectiveness in cosmetic procedures. Dermatologists point out that fat transfers can also cause lumps over time. Still, Aharon was satisfied with the initial results.
"This is me, this is my smile, this is my skin. It's not fake," said Aharon
Although it's cheaper than cosmetic surgery, the cost for the stem cell fat injections run about $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the areas you're treating.