Laser resurfacing vs Regenerative fat grafting

As we age, our dermis thins, facial skin loosens, and wrinkles develop.  There are several alternatives to treat the aging face. If a patient is not interested in a face lift, but wants a long lasting result, the two alternatives are:

  1. laser resurfacing
  2. regenerative fat grafts

What is the difference between these two techniques?

A LOT!  In summary, Laser resurfacing technologies destroy tissue (which the body repairs), while fat grafting (Fat injections) builds up and regenerates tissues. Most lasers shoot a high energy beam which vaporizes cells, whereas fat grafting techniques mobilize teams of repair cells to bring more blood supply and nutrients to your face.

I believe that stem cell enhanced fat grafting offers an advantage to lasers currently being used by plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Fat grafts are the most natural way to get a long lasting youthful rejuvenation of your face. Fat grafting is your own fountain of youth.

How do lasers work to tighten the skin?

With laser, a beam of energy is used to obliterate layers in the epidermis and dermis beneath your skin. The cells in those layers are totally vaporized. Once that layer has been destroyed the body sends a signal to repair. Your body repairs the tissue by forming a scar (or “building collagen”) in the destroyed tissue layer. The scar which forms beneath the skin has the effect of tightening the skin and and adding a little mass to the subcutaneous tissues. However, this does come at the expense of scar tissue and reduction of the dermal layer which gives structure to the skin.

Another problem with laser occurs when a patient loses weight following laser resurfacing treatment. I have seen some patients have a collapse of the structure of the dermis in the face. As the patients loses her own fat, which provided structural support, the laser treated skin sometimes does not hold up well. Fortunately, I have been able to offer these patients fat grafting, which restructures the dermis and adds volume back to the face.

How does Fat grafting work?

Fat grafting harnesses the power of stem cells that occur naturally in your own fat.  These naturally occurring fat stem cells are carefully extracted by liposuction from unwanted areas, processed with minimal manipulation, and then reinjected during the same operative session into areas that need rejuvenation.

So what is Fat grafting and why is it considered a regenerative technique?

The stem cell enriched fat restores volume and youthful fullness to your face. The naturally occurring stem cells in your own adipose fat tissue, or ADSC’s, make new blood vessels which bring blood supply and nourishment to your aging skin.

Fat grafting is a natural way to restore volume and a youthful glow to the aging face. I use fat grafting as a standalone procedure and also in combination with the face lift procedure. An added bonus with fat grafting is that the skin continues to improve months  after the surgery. The newly created blood vessels in the fat graft continue to re-energize the tissue with a new source of nutrients.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.