Aesthetic providers should think twice before telling patients that autologous facial lipografting will improve facial skin quality, according to a newly published review of studies looking the effects of facial lipografting on skin quality.1
In fact, while review authors found facial lipografting appears safe, scientific evidence showing facial lipografting, cellular stromal vascular fraction or adipose tissue-derived stromal cell injections actually improve facial skin quality is lacking, according to the review.
Study author Berend van der Lei, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at the University Medical Centre of Groningen and medical director of Bey Bergman Clinics, The Netherlands, tells Dermatology Times that he and coauthors were surprised by their findings. After all, many publications, including that by Coleman SR published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2006 described improved age-related skin changes from lipografting or lipofilling.
“… the authors state in these articles that this improvement of observed skin quality — only made by subjective observations after lipofilling — is the effect of the stem cells present in the fat,” says Dr. van der Lei.
But Dr. van der Lei says he and colleagues doubt the claim because the lipofilling increases volume, thereby stretching skin and visibly improving some indicators of skin quality.
Review authors searched scientific databases for studies evaluating autologous lipografting’s effect on facial skin quality, including skin texture, color, elasticity. They looked at histologic outcomes and safety data. The search yielded 4595 studies but only nine, with a total 301 patients, met the review criteria. Of the nine, two papers were level of evidence II; two were level of evidence III; and five were level of evidence IV studies. Eight were prospective controlled studies and six of those were controlled but only two of those six were randomized.
Dr. van der Lei reports no relevant disclosures.
- Van dongen JA, Langeveld M, Van de lande LS, Harmsen MC, Stevens HP, Van der lei B. The Effects of Facial Lipografting on Skin Quality: A Systematic Review. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019;144(5):784e-797e.
- Momeni A, Becker A, Antes G, et al. Evidence-based plastic surgery: controlled trials in three plastic surgical journals (1990-2005). Ann Plast Surg. 2008;61(2):221-5.