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Aesthetic Trends & Technologies
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May 31, 2007
Article by Make Me Heal
Stem cells are becoming more widely used in plastic surgery for breast augmentations, as fillers for wrinkles, and to enlarge any body part where more fullness is sought. With the European Union and Britain having just approved the use of stem cells for cosmetic surgery this month, this move is likely to make the use of stem cells more and more popular worldwide and ultimately in the United States.
Stem cells have been used in breast augmentations since 2003, as Japanese scientists have pioneered a treatment that offers a natural augmentation that uses stem cells and fat derived from the patient's own body to create soft and naturally augmented breasts. As no implants are needed and only self-extracted stem cells and fat are used, the patient's enhanced breasts are essentially “real.” This procedure has been performed on 54 patients thus far without any patients reporting any major problems.
One stem cell treatment can successfully increase breast volume by 120-160 cc, which is the rough equivalent of two bra-cup sizes (5-7 cm). For patients seeking to augment their breasts by 300 cc, the treatment needs to be performed twice. In both cases, no implant is used. For augmentations exceeding 300 cc, a combination of an implant and the stem cell technique is used to achieve the desired results.
Pioneered in Japan by Dr. Kotaro Yoshimura, the Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer (CAL) technique claims to result in breasts that look and feel more natural and smoother without implants and the larger scars that accompany traditional breast augmentations using implants. The technique is performed by suctioning fat from the abdomen or thigh and then injecting the fat together with stem cells obtained from the patient back into the breast.
The liposuctioned fat mixture, which now contains a high level of stem cells, is then transplanted layer by layer back into each breast to ensure an even distribution of the fatty mixture. What then occurs is that the stem cells enable the fat to grow its own blood supply, which leads to the fat becoming a part of the breast as opposed to a foreign mass.
Some of the cells produce more fat and other cells change into a living blood supply for new breast tissue that grows into the treated breast. Unlike traditional breast augmentations, there are no incisions involved, as only small needle punctures are made on each breast that lead to tiny imperceptible marks.
Furthermore, enhancing one's breast through the stem cell technique eliminates the risks associated with implants including deflation and leakage, capsular contracture (hardness and deformity), autoimmune disease (neurological problems), infection (skin redness and fever), and displacement (asymmetry and dislocation). Because the patient uses one's own stem cells and fat, the CAL technique carries no risk of the tissue being rejected by the body.
The main drawback to the procedure is that breast volume can only increase 120-160 cc per treatment, with a maximum enlargement of 300 cc through two treatments. Additionally, very thin patients may lack an adequate supply of adipose fat.