A View from Emily Singer
Stem Cells for Breast Augmentations
Women in Britain will soon be able to get a treatment for breast enhancement derived from their own fat cells.
Women who think their derriere is too big and their chest is too small might soon have an option to reverse that equation. Fat cells are sucked out of adipose tissue, then filtered using technology developed by Cytori Therapeutics to increase the ratio of fat stem cells, and then injected into the breast. The treatment, being commercialized in partnership with GE Healthcare, is currently in limited use among women who have lost breasts to cancer. But it is about to undergo testing in healthy women in the United Kingdom.
Previous attempts to use unfiltered fat cells for breast augmentation were not long lasting: the fat tissue appears to be reabsorbed by the body, probably due to a lack of blood vessels feeding the injected cells. By increasing the number of stem cells in the mix to be injected, Cytori says that its approach allows both fat and vasculature to take root in the breast tissue.
According to an article in the Times,
“This is a very exciting advance in breast surgery,” said [Kefah Mokbel, consultant breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital]. “They [breasts treated with stem cells] feel more natural because this tissue has the same softness as the rest of the breast.” He said the treatment offered the potential of considerable improvement on implants: “Implants are a foreign body. They are associated with long-term complications and require replacement. They can also leak and cause scarring.” Although the stem cell technique will restore volume, it will not provide firmness and uplift.
Mokbel believes the stem cell treatment may be suitable only for modest increases in breast size, but will conduct research to find out whether larger augmentations can be achieved: “We are optimistic we can easily achieve an increase of one cup size. We cannot say yet if we can achieve more. That may depend on the stem cells we can harvest.”
… The same technique has been used in Japan for six years, initially to treat women with breast deformities caused by cancer treatment and, more recently, for cosmetic breast augmentation in healthy women.
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