Posts Tagged ‘fat grafting’

Muscle-Derived Stem Cells Could Improve Fat Grafting

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Extracting and using muscle-derived stem cells may enhance the long-term prospects of fat grafting, say the authors of a recent article in Medical Hypotheses, a journal that encourages speculations about the future of medical practice and procedures.

Fat grafting is an essential part of numerous plastic surgeries, with uses in breast reconstruction as well as breast, lips, buttocks, and facial augmentation. Transferring fat from one part of the patient’s body to another can smooth wrinkles, fill out aged hands and faces, and improve the shape of breasts and buttocks.

“Autologous fat graft… gives a natural consistency, is easy and safe to harvest, exhibits no hypersensitivity or foreign body reactions, and is readily available,” the authors write. However, there may be some long-term shortcomings of fat grafting procedures, most notably the tendency for fat cells to not survive, failing to integrate with the body.

Researchers from Harbin Medical University in northeast China argue that these side effects are caused by insufficient blood flow. Without enough blood getting to the transplanted fat cells, they may wither and die. The authors explore a strategy for dealing with this problem, which involves the use of stem cells from the muscle tissue.

According to the researchers, previous studies show that best results for fat grafting occurred when fat tissue was transplanted inside muscle – because stem cells within the muscle tissue improve the formation of new blood passages in the grafted fat. Stem cells extracted from the patient’s body could be injected into the patient’s muscle tissue, along with the fat, at the site of the graft. At the same time, the plastic surgeon would cause minor damage to the muscle tissue, activating the body’s healing process. Over time, the healing muscle would interact with the stem cells to improve the formation of new blood vessels and integrate the fat tissue into the muscle.

While this is only one small study, it could be very exciting to see further research in this direction for fat grafting procedures. You can read more about this study on Pubmed.

LA Times Explores Marketing of “Stem Cell Facelifts”

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Last month, the Los Angeles Times published an article about “stem cell facelifts,” procedures that reportedly lack clinical evidence supporting recent claims made about their success.

The stem cell facelift basically involves facial injections of stem cell-enriched fat, according to the article.

Since then, major plastic surgery societies, bloggers and doctors on took notice and echoed the same skeptical question: Exactly how do stem cells improve the results of a facelift?

“Stem cells have incredible potential. But nobody knows exactly what they do. So they’re marketed to do everything,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Michael McGuire to the Times.

Both the Aesthetic Society and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons praised the article and advised any patients considering facial rejuvenation to avoid stem cell facelifts as well as other “fad procedures” that lack clinical evidence demonstrating their effectiveness.

There are several additional reasons to avoid the stem cell facelift marketing pitch. First, fat injections (facial fat grafting) can achieve a good cosmetic outcome without the use (or cost) of stem cells. Second, the long-term results of stem cell procedures are not known.  Last but not least, as a biologic product, stem cell enriched fat may require FDA approval, which it does not currently have.

Some incredible developments may be on the horizon for stem cells in cosmetic medicine, but according to industry experts, we have not yet reached that point.

Read the article via LA Times

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