Stem Cell Technology Aims To Stop The Aging Process. Does It Work?

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It’s not hard to get excited about anti-aging techniques when you speak with Dr. Steven Cohen. His deep understanding and passion about the latest scientific advancements and how they are transforming lives are contagious. 

“We are at an incredibly exciting time,” Dr. Cohen explains. “With Injectable Tissue Replacement and Rejuvenation (ITR²), we are able to effectively address gradual tissue decay by replacing those losses as they occur. This is an absolutely amazing development.” 

We asked Dr. Cohen—an internationally recognized plastic surgeon working from a bustling San Diego practice—to explain the procedure in more detail to help patients understand how it works and why it has the potential to transform the facial filler industry. 

He begins by asking an intriguing question—Can stem cell technology help us effectively stop the facial aging process? “This is the question I’ve been trying to answer through my research,” Dr. Cohen asserts. “My conclusion is that it can.”

At the center of Dr. Cohen’s assertion is a deep understanding of the power of stem cells. Over the past decade, he has studied stem cells and subsequently helped develop the ITR² technique. “Essentially, I am using the patient’s own fat to turn back the clock on facial aging.”

Dr. Cohen’s work, along with the work of others, has provided the foundation for using fat to replace soft tissue that was lost due to aging. Additionally, the use of fat-derived stem cells and regenerative cells can be used to reverse some of the aging changes in elastin and collagen fibers. “Fat and its component cells are now routinely used by the surgeons at FACES+ (Dr. Cohen’s practice) to replace and regenerate aging facial tissues,” he asserts.

 
 

“We are at an incredibly exciting time,” Dr. Cohen explains. “With Injectable Tissue Replacement and Rejuvenation (ITR²), we are able to effectively address gradual tissue decay by replacing those losses as they occur. This is an absolutely amazing development.” 

 
 

Technically speaking, the process involves harvesting the patient’s fat through liposuction, and then breaking it down into three separate levels—milifat, microfat, and nanofat. Once the fat is separated—a process that typically takes less than 15 minutes. The appropriate parcel size of fat is then injected into a specific area of the patient’s face:

  • Millifat adds structure and renews tissue—ideal for replacing lost fat in the deep compartments of the face that are below the facial muscles.

  • Microfat has a smoothing effect—perfect for replacing the superficial fat which anatomically is above the muscles.

  • Nanofat is more matrix and growth factors—excellent for regenerating blood supply and reversing some of the features of aging in elastin and collagen fibers.

Some might ask if this is the same as fat grafting or fillers like Botox and Juvederm. Dr. Cohen explains that although these other options are injectables, the comparisons stop there. ITR² is a significant step forward past these other techniques. “Standard fat grafting and facial fillers are certainly effective treatments, but the effect only lasts for a certain duration,” Dr. Cohen explains. “The ITR² technique actually brings new life to your face by improving tissue health and reducing the rate of decay. It solves the aesthetic issue of volume loss and improves blood circulation and cell and tissue growth by anatomically replacing the tissues being lost with similar tissue.”

Sounds simple, right? Like any doctor could perform the procedure? Not true. “In the hands of a skilled surgeon, the technique is extremely effective,” Dr. Cohen says. “But it is far from simple. It requires a deep understanding of facial structure and what lies beneath the skin. It demands the surgical expertise of a skilled craftsman.”

To that end, Dr. Cohen advises patients considering ITR² to work only with a board-certified surgeon who’s been trained on the procedure’s expertise. Dr. Cohen is certified by The National Board of Medical Examiners and American Board of Plastic Surgery and has performed thousands of ITR² procedures. In 2019, Dr. Cohen is launching a hands-on e-learning ITR² course for doctors. “This is an exciting advancement that, I believe, will help the industry achieve even greater success with anti-aging,” Dr. Cohen says.

 

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Steven R. Cohen, MD

plastic surgery
face, BREAst & body Surgery

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