Fat Grafting Technique Tested in Breast Reconstruction

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Stem cells are in the news a lot lately, especially in the world of plastic surgery, where bodily stem cells are changing the field of autologous fat grafting. A new fat grafting breast reconstruction procedure has now been added to the growing list of successful procedures centered on the use of bodily stem cells.

The adipose-derived regenerative cell (ADRC) fat grafting procedure, also known as RESTORE, was developed by Cytori Therapeutics, a San Diego company that specializes in regenerative medicine. The procedure was successfully tested in the U.K. by an independent study that indicated very positive outcomes for breast reconstruction patients.

What is autologous fat grafting?

Fat grafting refers to a set of procedures that all involve using the body’s own fat to add volume to different parts of the body, most often the breasts. These can provide excellent results without the use of breast implants, much like the TRAM and DIEP flap techniques.

Why are stem cells so vital to advances in fat grafting?

Autologous fat grafting is far from perfect, as there are issues associated with cell death and reintegration of the fatty tissue. A quarter of the grafted tissue is likely to die because of insufficient blood flow. However, stem cells, because of their ability to transform into different types of cells, represent an exciting solution to this longstanding problem. Stem cells have been proven to help integrate transplanted fat, and could provide better outcomes for other fat grafting procedures, such as aesthetic breast augmentation and facial contouring.

The independent study for the RESTORE procedure involved of 23 breast reconstruction patients who received ADRC fat grafts between September 2008 and November 2010. 19 out of 23 patients reported good to excellent results, with a mean satisfaction score of 5.1 (with 1 being worst and 6 being best). The surgery had a low rate of complications. These results, coupled with other tests performed in the U.S. by Cytori Therapeutics, indicate that RESTORE will probably soon see wider adoption in the field of breast reconstructive surgery.

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