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Stem Cells Enhance Plastic Surgery Techniques

Make Me Heal News, May 2, 2007

In order to fill wrinkles, perform breast augmentations, and enlarge any area of the body where more fullness is desired; stem cells are becoming an available option in the world of plastic surgery. Stem cells were approved this month for the use of cosmetic surgery in Britain and the European Union. It is likely that the United States will allow similar treatments in the future, especially with the added pressure of keeping up with the other countries who by approving the treatments, will undoubtedly make them more popular worldwide.

Using stem cells and fat derived from the patient’s own body to create soft and naturally augmented breasts, Japanese scientists pioneered a treatment that offers a natural breast augmentation using stem cells in 2003. The patient's enhanced breasts are essentially "real" thanks to this procedure. Only self-extracted fat and stem cells are used and no implant is necessary. So far no major problems have been reported from the procedure after a total of 54 patients have opted to use the stem cells for breast augmentation and facial rejuvenation. The stem cell assisted breast enhancement may soon be available in the United States considering that Britain and the European Union have already approved it.

The rough equivalent of two bra-cup sizes (5 to 7 cm) can be achieved with stem cell assisted augmentation. The treatment can do 120-160ml (1ml equals 1cc) but some patients may desire a 300ml increase. The treatment can be performed twice for those wanting additional size. No implant is necessary in both cases, but can be used in conjunction with the stem cell technique to further exceed the 300ml limit of the stem cell only breast enlargement.

The technique results in breasts that feel and look more smooth and natural without any of the larger scars that are associated with breast augmentations using traditional implants.

The method called Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer (CAL) was pioneered in Japan by Dr. Kotaro Yoshimura.

Adipose-derived stem cells are derived from the patient and mixed with fat that has been suctioned from the patient's thigh or abdomen. The resulting liposuctioned fat mixture, which is enriched with a high level of stem cells, is evenly distributed into the breast tissue layer by layer. The fat becomes part of the breast instead of a foreign mass since the stem cells allow the fat to grow its own blood supply. New breast tissue then grows into the treated breast with some of the cells producing more fat and others changing into living blood supply. Only small needle punctures are made on each breast, leading to tiny nearly invisible marks. This contrasts the incisions and scarring that is associated with traditional breast augmentations. Risks such as displacement (asymmetry and dislocation), autoimmune disease (neurological problems), capsular contracture (hardness and deformity), infection (skin redness and fever), leakage, and deflation, are also negated with the stem cell enhancement. CAL technique carries no risk of the tissue being rejected by the body since the patient uses their own stem cells.

The maximum breast enlargement of 300ml with two treatments is the only limitation of the procedure. A 120-160ml breast volume increase is the maximum per treatment. Adipose fat may not be available in patients who are very thin as well.

Stem cells are also helping the skin become more healthy and radiant, regenerate itself, fill in wrinkles as well as reduce them, and repair damaged tissues. Stem cells placed next to mature tissue can naturally repair it and help regenerate newer and more youthful tissue. Patients have been using their own fat to restore youthfulness and volume to the face for over 25 years at Dr. Richard Ellenbogen's practice. He is one of America's leading face lift surgeons. Dr. Ellenbogen recently made the discovery that fat also rejuvenates the skin because it contains stem cells. This is in addition to the fact that fat helps restore volume to weak and aging facial structures.

“I first started using fat during my Volumetric Facelift to restore volume in patients’ faces over 25 years ago,” says Dr. Ellenbogen. “After years of working with fat, science has now revealed that the stem cells in fat reduce wrinkles and give patients radiant, glowing skin as well.”

Patients of Dr. Ellenbogen who had the Volumetric Facelift often said that their skin looked healthier and that wrinkles and pigmentation spots they had disappeared after the procedure. This added benefit was a welcome surprise since a face lift is meant to treat the underlying structures of the face and not erase wrinkles. It is the very rich presence of stem cells in the "fat injections" that Dr. Ellenbogen says is responsible for the improvement of the skin's appearance and the disappearance of wrinkles during Volumetric Facelift.

Dr. Karl-Georg Heinrich in Germany has also been using stem cells for plastic surgery procedures.

Dr. Heinrich says that “with stem cells we not only get 100% natural results - these will also last a lifetime.”

The patient is able to improve their skin and also lose fat and at the same time since the stem cells are obtained from fat that is liposuctioned from the patient’s body.

The future holds great promise to patients who are seeking more natural ways to enhance themselves with more surgeons finding that stem cells can be used to augment breasts and other body areas as well as act as fillers for wrinkles.


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