Nasolabial folds - I want a more permanent solution, maybe stem cell lift? (Photo)

I'm in my late 30s. Deepening lines and folds are very bothersome. I don't have full cheeks to begin with, so it's even worse.My face is narrow and this exacerbates it.It's going to progress, so I'd like to do something that will last rather than getting temporary fillers.Is a face lift an option, stem cell or otherwise?The left side is worse and there's a line that trails down away from my lips toward my ear that REALLY draws the eye.It's hard to see in the pic but it's very apparent to me.

Doctor Answers 15

Treatment of nasolabial folds

Thank you for your picture and question.

Dermal fillers are the gold standard for temporary treatment of nasolabial folds, just like the ones you posted in your picture.

At your young age, I would avoid a facelift procedure. The incisions for a facelift are way out by the ear and will provide a minimal change to your nasolabial fold.

I think what you meant by "stem cells", was transferring fat. Fat transfer to the nasolabial fold is usually more expensive than dermal fillers, and the results can be unpredictable. With that being said, I perform fat grafting to the face and nasolabial fold frequently.

The procedure is called a nasolabial subcision. The subcision procedure will release the tethering of the nasolabial fold from the underlying musculature. After wire subcision, I will "fill the gap" with fat. This provides a permanent improvement in the nasolabial fold. There are no scars on the face, and the procedure is done under local anesthesia in the office.

Before any procedure, a one-on-one consultation is necessary.

I hope this helps.

- Dr. Bryson G. Richards, MD

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 283 reviews

Nasolabial Folds and Flat Cheeks

The obvious solutions have been presented to you by my excellent fellow surgeons. In general, stem cells are indeed unproven to us all. Your options, after an exam only as the course to proceed, will be either fat injections which take time and money, and fillers such as Voluma, which take money and not time and last for 2 years approximately,  and then must be repeated! Fat is obviously more permanent but with aging, and over time adjustments must be made...obviously and then we can discuss other options with you such as mid face lift, etc,.Hope this helps you understand.

Richard M. Levin, MD
Lancaster Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Face lift with or without stem cells

There is no evidence yet that stem cells help but a limited face lift and fat transplants may be an option.
Find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon whom you life and have a detailed consultation about your facial changes and what can be done to improve them.

There is definitely evidence that tissues come down off the cheek starting in women's late twenties.
So see what is likely to give you the best result. 

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Stem cell

There is no evidence that stem cells are superior than autologous fat transfer. You should consult with a PS who can show you examples of non surgical and surgical rejuvenation treatments so that you can make an informed decision as to whether to undergo facial rejuvenation. 

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Facial Rejuvenation

You have a very youthful face. You should be very conservative with anything you do. More photos would be needed, from many different angles to provide the best suggestions. 

Again, I would need to see more photos, but fat grafting or Voluma could possibly give you a nice result. The result you receive would depend upon the expertise of the provider. Too often people end up with faces too full, with material placed in an unnatural manner with both Voluma and Fat. Look at many many photos, check the background of your doctor, and then have consultations. Remember, be conservative!

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews


Fat grafting can be a long lasting option. I typically recommend temporary filler for the first trial since if you DON'T like the way it changes your look you know it will go away.  Then, if you DO like the effect, it is more predictable to go with fat. "Stem cell" therapy has no proven special benefit thus far.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Stem cell facelift? Better options

The photos you posted do not show deep nasolabial folds, but there does appear to be a relative lack of volume in the cheeks. Adding volume in the right area will help that and will also lift the nasolabial fold a bit, so I would avoid using much filler directly in the folds. Voluma is a good option for the cheeks and it lasts about 2 years. Fat grafting is probably your best option, but the extra expense of enhancing it with stem cells does not make sense to me.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Nasolabial fold in a young patient

There is much nonsense written and posted about stem cells.  Be cautious of anyone touting their benefits.  

You have options.  Fillers such a Perlane would make sense.  If you likes this temporary filler, a more long term option such as fat grafting or Artefill would be a logical progression.  

Good luck. 

Stephen J. Ronan, MD, FACS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Nasolabial folds

First of all,please move past stem cell lifts as they are unproven and unlikely to have any impact other than short term. Based on your facial anatomy, fillers are a good short term(approx. 1yr.) approach but I hear your frustration with fillers. Despite your younger age a type of minilift may be helpful but an in-person exam will be necessary to determine. 

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Midface Lift and Fat Grafting are Good Long Term Solutions

For the person with a nice jawline and minimal laxity in the neck but who still has significant flattening of the cheeks, a midface lift and/or fat grafting can have nice results.  In order to determine whether these options make sense,  consult with a surgeon that has significant experience in both of these procedures. The most difficult road block I come across is that frequently the issues that you describe are in very thin patients and it is difficult to obtain the quantity of fat needed for successful rejuvenation.  For these patients, I generally will recommend Sculptra.  It is long-lasting and in the right hands (i.e. experienced) the results can be outstanding.  
As for stem cell procedures, stay away.... for now.  The hype far exceeds the science.   

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.