Dr. Jeffrey Caruth, a Texas OBGYN who is performs cosmetic
surgery has started using adult stem cells to increase the effectiveness of "fat
grafting". The use of fat as a filler has been used in plastic surgery for
decades. The only problem has been that as time passes, the fat gets resorbed
by the body. A publication from Japan (Yoshimura et al. Cell-assisted
lipotransfer for facial lipoatrophy: efficacy of clinical use of adipose-derived
stem cells. Dermatol Surg. 2008 Sep;34(9):1178-85) demonstrated that if fat
stem cells are mixed in with the fat, the rate of resorption is markedly
diminished. Given that the cells administered are the same cells of the body,
the possibility of immunological reaction is absent.
Jackie Jones is the second patient in North Texas to
undergo this type of cosmetic surgery. "I will be happy to see the lines on my
face go away," she said. "I will be happy with the new shape of my body and that
in itself is really exciting to me."
Dr. Caruth said stem cells help solve a problem that has
plagued prior procedures. "The problem has been with traditional fat grafting
that you put a volume of fat into the face, the buttocks and then in a month or
two or three there is significant volume loss due to death of the fat cells you
put in," he continued "You’re going to get twice the graft survival versus
other methods," Caruth said.
It is known that conventional artificial filler injections
usually last up to a year and regular fat grafting lasts anywhere between three
to five years. It is anticipated that addition of stem cells will allow the
grafts to maintain shape for up to 10 years.
Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel, the vice chairman of plastic surgery
with UT Southwestern, stated "There is a tremendous amount of excitement about
stem cells," he said. "We just don’t have a lot of information about them, about
how they work and how we control them to do what we want them to do."
After the procedure Jones commented "I can really tell a
difference. The lines between my eyebrows are gone."
Human fat contains not only stem cells but other cells such
as T regulatory cells that control inflammation. Given that inflammation is
associated with aging, there may be several mechanisms at play responsible for
the effects seen by addition of fat stem cells to fat grafts. An example of fat
stem cells exerting therapeutic effects can be seen in multiple sclerosis as
reported in this publication