Stem Cells Offer New Hope for Fat Grafting, Including Breast Implants

International demand has prompted San Diego company, Cytori Therapeutics Inc., to develop a device that combines human body fat with stem cells and other cells that are thought to have regenerative properties.

Fat grafting is tricky business, but a New York plastic surgeon claims to have a workable technique. Dr. Sydney Coleman was recently published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery documenting his innovative breast augmentation technique, which employs fat grafting.

In Coleman’s rarely emulated procedure, fat is taken from other body fat stores (commonly done during liposuction) and used to supplement the tissue of the breast.  The technique hasn’t caught on due to certain risks, such as the dying of, and subsequent calcification of the grafted fat.

The latest theory is that introducing stem cells to the fat grafting process will give the transferred tissue a sort of healing/regenerative ability, preventing the tissue from dying or being rejected by the body.  A stem cell-fortified fat product could actually promote the formation of new blood vessels, bonding the reintroduced tissue to its surroundings in the breast or elsewhere.  The results would be the closest thing to natural surgeons have ever seen.

Medical professionals in Europe and Japan have experimented with techniques and reported success. However, in the United States, FDA approval of any stem cell supplemented bio-product would be required.  Research on the effectiveness and longevity of such a product is also necessary.

Researchers at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are recruiting patients for a related study.  More information on that trial study is available at ClinicalTrials.gov.

In the meantime, Dr. Lee Daniel will continue to provide breast augmentation in Eugene with saline and silicone breast implants while we’re waiting for the stem cells.

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