Breast implants have had their share of negative press over the past few decades, and the recent PIP implant controversy have many contemplating the practice of breast augmentation. Medical professionals have been doing the same, working on new ways to reinvigorate plastic surgery on female breasts.
The Daily Mail reports that one of those alternatives may come in a form that is naturally stored in the body: excess fat. The technique of lipo-filling has been used increasingly in many cosmetic treatments, with small clusters of fat removed from the body via liposuction, purified, and injected into the part of the body ready to be treated.
The use of one’s body fat sidesteps the need for immunosuppressive drugs necessary for transplants from others. The downside to lipo-filling is that a minimum of half of the body fat that is moved ends up being reabsorbed into the body within 6-12 months. Scientists note that the implanted fat needs a blood supply for support, and that the implant is too little to support a whole graft.
A group of the world’s top plastic surgeons and molecular biology and tissue experts will discuss the use of lipo-filling at a G20 forum in Montreux, Switzerland. Attendees at the summit will talk about ways to generate new blood vessels within the implanted fat, known as neoangiogenesis.
Another item of discussion is the use of stem cells to add life to fat implants, as body fat contains one of the largest resources of stem cells. The isolated stem cells, after isolation, purification and concentration, can be reintroduced to the fat graft—reportedly increasing growth of blood vessels to maintain fat graft life.
Phillip Blondeel, chairman of the G20 forum for regenerative plastic surgery and a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, is unsure of the use of tissue replacement in plastic surgery, but he is eager to see how neoangiogenesis advances, feeling that discovering its secret will open “the gates to the creation of patient-own fat grafts will be widely opened, ushering in a whole new era of tissue transplantation.”