Fat and Stem Cell Transfer

Personalised cell therapy:

Fat and Stem cell Transfer to Face, Neck, Décolleté, Hands and Stretch Marks. Optionally combined with PRP (Platelet rich Plasma)

Your own fat (autologous) is harvested, processed, and the immature undifferentiated stem cells with or without the fully developed adult fat cells are transferred to improve wrinkles, deflation, sagging, tissue thinning and pigmentation. Since it is your own tissue it cannot be rejected by your body. It is performed safely in our onsite theatre virtually painlessly under local anaesthesia and sedation. Fat cell transfer results are immediate; the effect of the transferred stem cells takes weeks to months to develop. The results are far longer lasting than with conventional synthetic fillers and have the potential to be permanent.

Harvested fat (called Microfat or Macrofat) comprises both living adult Fat cells (approx. 20% by number) as well as SVF (Stromal Vascular Fraction) cells (approx. 80% by number); most of the SVF cells are actually Stem cells that are capable of turning into adult fat cells, fibroblast cells (that make collagen), blood vessels and other cells that are lacking in your target sites. These stem cells have the potential to replicate indefinitely, maintaining a reservoir of living tissue for years to come.

Microfat (adult fat cells + stem cells) transfer. AT TLC we use Microfat (as opposed to Macrofat) for transfer into the Face, neck, décolleté, hands and stretch marks that is harvested (obtained) via a very fine bore harvesting cannula; this means that the transferred fat is comprised of tiny clumps of living cells that are of small diameter and therefore give smoother and long-lasting results. Larger fat cell clumps (Macrofat) obtained via wider conventional liposuction cannulas tend to cause lumpiness of the final contour result: also, the centres of the cell clumps die off leading to more volume loss of the transferred fat with disappointing late deflation. We at Taryn Laine Clinic do not, therefore, transfer Macrofat into any of these areas.

Microfat (comprised of both living adult fat cells and stem cells) is placed either deep to the skin into the fat planes and compartments via blunt-tipped micro-cannulas, or, in the case of SNIF, it is injected more superficially into the dermis via a sharp needle ("SNIF" means "Sharp needle intra-dermal fat" transfer). In an optional additional preparation step, PRP can be added to the microfat before transfer. The volumising results (due to the adult fat cells) of Microfat and SNIF transfer are seen immediately: they appear exaggerated at first due to the usual post-operative swelling, and slowly decrease till reaching a long-term stable result at about 4 to 6 months post-procedure. The stem cell effects on skin quality and pigmentation emerge more slowly, also over 4 months to a year. This is because the stem cells slowly but surely mature into adult cells like fibroblasts (that then produce collagen and elastin). The stem cells are the reason for the very long-term positive results of fat transfer as they keep regenerating cells indefinitely.

Stem cell only transfer. The harvested fat is processed so that only viable stem cells remain. This can be done in one of 2 ways, so producing 2 possible stem cell preparations for injection.

  1. Nanofat preparation involves mechanical rupture and destruction of the adult fat cells by the Tonnard technique. The stem cells survive the process, and so Nanofat comprises viable stem cells in an oily emulsion. It is injected either into or just below the dermis of the skin. The body soon clears away the fatty emulsion from the recipient tissue by natural processes. The living stem cells remain.
  2. Alternatively, in a further step, the stem cells are separated from the oily emulsion by centrifugation, suspended either in Saline or your own Platelet rich Plasma (PRP), and then injected in the same way and into the same zones as for Nanofat.

There is post-op swelling due both to the trauma of the injection process and, in the case of having used Nanofat, the presence of the fatty molecules: but the swelling progressively subsides over 2 to 4 weeks. The rejuvenation effects are delayed in onset as the remaining living stem cells slowly transform into adult cells; meaningful results emerge at 6 weeks and build toward the final result at 4 to 6 months and longer post-procedure. As with the stem cells in Microfat, these purified stem cells have the potential for permanent survival and multiplication and so the results tend to be very long lasting. Skin quality and pigmentation are substantially improved.

6 weeks after microfat transfer to cheeckbones, chin & posterior jawline plus neck liposuction

5 months microfat transfer cheekbones chin & upper eyelids plus SNIF transfer to nasolabial lines plus nanofat to upper white lip plus vermillion

The results of Microfat, SNIF, Nanofat and pure Stem cell transfer are long lasting for several or more years because they involve living tissue. The improvement of skin pigmentation problems is intriguing. The transferred cells (adult fat cells and the other adult cells that the stem cells mature into) seem to communicate (via chemical messages) with the pigment producing cells (melanocytes), causing them to tone down their pigment over-production. Slowly over months to years the areas like dark eye circles improve in a very meaningful way.

Postop swelling and bruising, (and "downtime"), varies in extent and duration depending on the area(s) and exact combination of methods (Nanofat, Stem cells in PRP, SNIF, Microfat) used, as well as your work and social situation. For example, you can look very normal within a day or so of cheekbone fat transfer, yet appear abnormally swollen and bruised for say 4 to 6 weeks after nanofat transfer to the mouth area. Working privately from home on your PC will have far less impact on downtime than if you are a cosmetics sales rep highly sensitive about your appearance and unable to take time off.

In comparison with synthetic fillers results are longer lasting, with no risk of immune reactions because it’s your own tissues. Synthetic fillers, however, are far quicker and easier to administer and down time is generally shorter. HA fillers are also easily and rapidly dissolvable (reversable), which adds an important bail out mechanism if you don’t like the results. Because Fat transfer involves a surgical theatre procedure it is usually more expensive. The time to consider fat transfer is when you are requiring large volumes of filler (there is no limit on the volume of Microfat that can be harvested during a procedure, so harvesting 40 or 120 ml costs the same; conversely, the cost of artificial filler rises with every millilitre used) , wishing something completely natural (non-synthetic), or wanting to improve skin quality and pigmentation with living cell therapy. Synthetic fillers cannot improve skin pigmentation. All these issues and variables will be discussed during your consultation, empowering you to make an informed sensible choice that best fits your budget and downtime.

Call us to make an appointment for a face to face assessment and quote; tel 041 374 7852.

Alternatively, you can mail some pics of your area of concern for a free feasibility comment and rough quote.

The Cost of Fat and Stem cell transfer:

The price of the procedure and follow up visits varies between R9 000.00 to R29 000.00 or more, depending on the numbers of areas to be treated and the exact combination of treatment methods (Microfat transfer, SNIF, Stem cells in PRP, and or nanofat transfer) to be employed.

There is an initial one-off consult fee of R690.00.

Medical AIDs do not pay for fat transfer procedures. They usually do cover the costs of a pre-op medical check-up, lab tests and post-op medication.

Regular follow-up visits are scheduled for dressing changes and observation; at no extra cost.

Where is the procedure performed?

It is performed in our on-site theatre under sedation and local anaesthesia. This maintains your privacy and keeps costs down without sacrificing safety; in fact, the risk of dangerous hospital acquired infections with highly resistant bacteria is avoided. Pain is not an issue and all our patients comment favourably on how well it is tolerated.

Summary of names and concepts

Your own fat is painlessly harvested (from areas like the anterior abdomen, inner thighs, knees or love handles etc) via a hollow narrow-gauge liposuction “Tonnard” cannula under local anaesthetic and sedation. The resulting fat is variously termed “autologous fat” (autologous designating that it is your own tissue as opposed to coming from someone else), “Microfat” (made up of fine fat particles because of the fine bore of the Cannula employed in harvesting), or Macrofat (in the case of fat obtained via conventional larger bore cannulas in standard body liposuction procedures).

This fat is made up of both living adult fat cells and stem cells (adolescent cells that retain the capacity to continuously reproduce and that still have to mature into specific kinds of adult cells).Adult fat cells have a finite life span whereas Stem cells can continue to replace these adult fat and other types of cells for many years into the future.

Microfat transfer and SNIF Transfer involve transfer of microfat: both living adult fat cells plus stem cells are being transferred. The Microfat is being transferred deep to the skin in the case of “Microfat transfer”; in the case of SNIF transfer it is being transferred into the dermis of the skin (more superficially) and because this can only be achieved by employing a sharp needle, (as opposed to a blunt tipped cannula in the case of Microfat transfer), it is termed “Sharp Needle Intradermal Fat” transfer. PRP, prepared from your blood, can be mixed with the microfat and the combination injected.

Pure Stem cell transfer, without the living adult fat cells, is accomplished by first further processing the harvested fat using the Tonnard emulsification process: the adult fat cells are mechanically ruptured to release their oily contents and therefore are killed off. The resulting oily emulsion is termed “Nanofat”, and this can be directly transferred deep to (via a blunt tipped cannula) or directly into the dermis (via a sharp needle) of the skin. In a further optional step, the oil can be removed via centrifugation, leaving behind a pure suspension of living stem cells. This suspension can be directly injected in the same way as Nanofat: or PRP, prepared from your blood, can be mixed with it and the combination injected.

PRP (Platelet rich plasma) contains a number of your body’s own stimulating growth factors (derived from your blood platelets), and this increases the survival of the transferred adult fat and stem cells and is thought to encourage the adolescent stem cells to turn into the required adult tissue cells. PRP is prepared by spinning a blood sample taken from you at the time of the fat harvesting procedure.

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