A dipose Derived Regenerative Cells (ADRC) are becoming the preferred source for regenerative stem cells. Stem cells taken from fat (adipose tissue) are capable of creating new vascular growth and are being studied to heal diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), congestive heart failure (CHF) as well as being used experimentally to re-grow organs like the liver, kidneys and heart. Fat grafting is the technique of extracting fat through liposuction, centrifuging the fat to concentrate the fat cells with the associated stem cells, and then re-injecting the fat and stem cells into another area of the body.
Since 1997, Dr. Gilbert Lee at Changes Plastic Surgery in San Diego, CA has been using fat grafting in breast reconstruction. He commonly uses fat grafts to fill defects following lumpectomies and partial mastectomies. Fat grafting has come so far that breasts can now be entirely reconstructed with fat grafts, without using a scalpel or otherwise opening the skin. Not only does the fat replace the breast tissue removed during a lumpectomy or mastectomy, but the associated stem cells can improve the quality of the breast skin, especially following radiation treatments. Radiation can leave the skin of the treated breast almost leather-like, hyperpigmented, and contracted with displacement of the nipple. Because of the rejuvenative ADRC within the fat, within a year of the transplanted fat, the skin of the breast softens and returns to a normal coloration.
The power of stem cells has been receiving a great deal of interest in the area of anti-aging as well. Fat loss is the first step in the facial aging process. This fat loss is associated with sagging skin. Dr. Lee uses fat grafting to restore facial volume. Adipose tissue is liposuctioned from the patient’s stomach or inner thighs and injected into facial areas via a small cannula in a drop by drop process. As is the case with breast reconstruction, the injection of fat (and the inherent ADRC) not only builds volume, but the skin quality appears younger and healthier over time.
Our generation may be the first to benefit from cell regeneration. Exciting new medical applications will undoubtedly stem from ongoing studies and applications involving ADRC. Follow Changes Plastic Surgery to stay savvy on stem cells.
Copyright 2013 Jill Darrah for Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa