Yesterday, a ground-breaking stem cell treatment allowed women to create their own breast implants.
Encouraging stem cells to form breast tissue, scientists were able to initially harvest the cells from the women’s own fat.
Unlike the synthetic implants that are used by Hollywood stars, the outcome from the stem cells produce in a more natural appearance.
Women who have undergone the procedure say they have had no problems, and the Japanese research team responsible has carried out trials on dozens of women.
Plastic surgeons should be able to use the treatment within the next five years.
The method proved to be convincing for British surgeons. They called the procedure an “appealing” new technique.
The procedure involves extracting stem cells from fat, which can develop into many diverse tissues in the body.
The stem cells are combined with common fat cells and then injected back into the a patient’s breasts by Dr. Yoshimura and his team at the University of Tokyo.
The hope is the stem cells will lead to the development of new fat cells and persuade blood vessels to grow into new breast tissue and nourish it.
Without suffering any adverse side effects, 38 women have been treated with the technique since 2004 when it was first used.
Further tests are still considered necessary since the long-term efficacy has not been entirely demonstrated.
Current obstacles include the fact that slender patients may not have an adequate amount of fat to spare, but this could potentially be remedied in the future by using donor fat cells that have been tested for immune compatibility. But more pressing may be that compared to existing synthetic implants, the technique can increase breast size by only half as much.
However, the stem cell enhanced breasts avoid problems that plagued older silicone implants such as leaking. The effect is also more natural looking believes Dr. Yoshimura.
“Natural implants” can already be made using fat. But doctors say that since they lack a blood supply, they can shrink over time.
The stem cell enhancement would not be susceptible to this problem.
Dr. Yoshimura said: “I believe that within five years my procedure will be available as plastic surgery and that it will prove very popular.”
Proclaiming that stem cells can produce longer-lasting and shapelier implants as well as eliminate the need for extra surgery is Dr. Jeremy. He is a scientist at the University of Illinois.
In 2005, the U.S. doctor presented his work in Washington at that American Association for the Advancement of Science conference.
In order to generate varying sizes and shapes of implants, Dr. Jeremy changed stem cells into fat producing, or adipose cells in his tests.
These were cultivated in the laboratory and then injected beneath the skin of laboratory mice.
Upon observation, they were the same size and shape after being removed four weeks later.
An interest for patient use has risen among several British plastic surgeons.