The Latest on Anti-Aging

I just returned from a plastic surgery and anti-aging meeting in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and want to share the experience with you. This meeting included 7,000 surgeons, dermatologists, anti-aging specialists, and paramedical support providers.

I was invited as one of a handful of American speakers with a known interest and some expertise in cosmetic surgery, nutrition, aging, and hormone replacement therapy. My lectures included topics associated with those subjects such as eyelid surgery, facial surgery, cosmetic improvement of the skin, and the overall importance of nutrition and exercise to the aging process. My talks emphasized total wellness and a holistic approach to staying youthful and were well received. Besides being a presenter, I attended many lectures, saw and learned a great deal from the associated trade show, and visited with some my longstanding friends, who are plastic surgeons from various countries including the UK, Russia, France, Japan, and China. Now I will share some of the new concepts, products, and procedures which were featured at the conference.       
 
Presentations included new and innovative products, surgical techniques, and drugs. For me, the most important take-away from the meeting was the continual evolving research on and use of stem cells and fibroblasts in being able to offer rejuvenation of the skin including surface texture as well as integrity and thickness of the underlying dermis. In our own EVMS research areas, Dr. David McDaniel is pioneering tissue culture of fibroblasts (which make collagen) and placing the much expanded volume of cells into the subdermal areas by injection and by making tiny openings into the skin through which the fibroblasts can migrate to a dermal position and create better skin thickness. I presented this work along with my experience of placing fat grafts (and stem cells) in micro amounts under the dermis to improve wrinkled skin, correct volume loss and shrinkage, and create a more youthful appearing face.
 
Along with these modalities, there was a lot of information on the potential of stem cells, fat grafts, and fibroblasts with reference to the age of the patient. Consider that the average skin cell has 46 pairs of chromosomes, or 96 strands. Each chromosome has little segmented “tails” of matched DNA pairs, and when many have been “used up” or damaged by sunshine, alcohol, smoking, or oxidative stress from overeating, the skin no longer is able to replicate normally, impeding regeneration and taking on an older appearance.
 
While we can improve on aging changes of the skin by sun protection, protective moisturizing nurturing vitamin and antioxidant-rich lotions, peels to stimulate healing, and Retin-A to get rid of some of the damaged DNA, we have not been able to do very much with improvement of stem cell vitality or progressive telomere shortening. Well, to the surprise of many researchers and treating physicians over the past couple of years, we can culture stem cells, nurture them into better health, and use a supplement called TA35 to extend telomere life and delay aging of the skin while nursing it back to relative youthfulness.
 
Along with that, there are more growth factors and topical compounds to delay oxidative stress and aging of the epidermis and dermis. For example, use of carboxytherapy, a technique which infuses the superficial skin with carbon dioxide through small needles followed by direct infusion of oxygen into the tissue, can improve rejuvenation of the skin by increasing collagen production and also by the synthesis of nurturing and healing amino acids. Tone and elasticity of the skin are improved by this treatment.
 
Since skin over the whole body varies from place to place, there are modalities to deal with and improve this also. For example, striae on stretch marks of the abdomen in the post-pregnancy relaxed skin can be removed by various types of laser treatments including Fraxel, while cellulite, another problem, can be improved with cooling or radiofrequency devices.
 
Cellulite is actually similar to tufting upholstery on furniture, but it is strands of fibrous tissue attached to the dermis, surrounded by bulbous fat under the surrounding skin, which gives it the irregular lumpy contour. Additionally, bulges or lumps of outgrowth of fat can be liposuctioned with a small diameter cannula, allowing subdermis removal of fat and subsequent shrinkage of skin. If adjacent tissue is depressed by fat atrophy that can occur in the face or body, then the live fat cells can be injected into the subdermal layer of fat to smooth the contour. By adding mesotherapy (a technique of skin injection), further improvement of skin tone and quality can be seen. Another set of treatments which can improve the quality and appearance of skin is the LED light, a type of light wave that goes into the skin and subcutaneous tissue to stimulate collagen production and decrease metalloproteinases, which cause more rapid aging of the skin.
 
A technology which is not new, but is coming into its own as a delivery system for nutrients, growth factors, and drugs is the needling system, which can be in the form of a pen with multiple needles which penetrate the skin in rapid fashion with very minimal piercing of the epidermis, without pain. Another form of this is a “needle roller” which is a cylinder with multiple needles which do the same, but are not as easily controlled as far as the depth of penetration. Stem cells, cultured fibroblasts, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and other compounds will then penetrate the small open wounds in a more effective manner and aid in regeneration of the skin. In fact, there is a new nonsurgical method of hair growth stimulation using the needling method and adding stem cells, thus improving vascularization and getting more thickening and growth of hair.
 
Experts presented many other modalities, including such topics as endogenous stimulation of HGH, regimens for men and women for testosterone, hand rejuvenation with fat grafts, and hyaluronic fillers. The fasting diet (2:5 diet) was discussed in detail along with information on weight loss, nutrient density of foods, and supplements. It was shown that injection of the parotid gland and/or masseter muscle helps reduce the bulge of gland or muscle to help feminize the face in those who need it for more delicate facial contour and improved aesthetic appearance.
 
In all, it is almost overwhelming to see and understand all of the ways by which we can help you look young and stay young. All of this information is available to you through our office or that of other practitioners who have an interest in the areas of plastic surgery and anti-aging medicine.

For more information, call 757-557-0300.
James H. Carraway, M.D.

Dr. James Carraway is a full-time academic and practicing clinical plastic surgeon.  He is Director of the Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center of EVMS, is board certified in surgery and plastic surgery, and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  Dr. Carraway has been teaching and practicing for 30+ years and has been director and chairman of residency training programs and fellowship programs in plastic surgery.
back to top

Explore More From Women’s Health

Nitrous Oxide as Pain Relief in Labor

Nitrous Oxide as Pain Relief in Labor

Women’s Health 07-01-2020

Is nitrous oxide a safe pain reliever during labor? Read more

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Women’s Health 06-01-2020

Read about ACOG advisories for pregnant women during the pandemic. Read more

Low-Dose Aspirin in Pregnancy

Low-Dose Aspirin in Pregnancy

Women’s Health 05-01-2020

Ask your provider if low-dose aspirin will ensure a healthier pregnancy. Read more

11 Tips to Quit Smoking

11 Tips to Quit Smoking

Longevity 04-01-2020

Start by committing yourself fully and then make a plan. Read more

The First Annual Birth Control

The First Annual Birth Control

Women’s Health 04-01-2020

Enjoy the freedom of Annovera, an easy-to-use annual contraceptive. Read more

Endometriosis Awareness Months

Endometriosis Awareness Months

Women’s Health 03-01-2020

Get the latest scoop on treatments for this painful disorder. Read more

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy

Women’s Health 02-01-2020

Read this to find out why pregnant women with eating disorders have to be extra-vigilant. Read more

Healthy Eyes and Ears

Healthy Eyes and Ears

Longevity 01-02-2020

Don’t let vision and/or hearing loss slow you down. Read more

Management of Abnormal Pap Tests

Management of Abnormal Pap Tests

Women’s Health 01-01-2020

Follow-up testing is crucial for women with a history of abnormal pap tests. Read more