Recently plastic surgeons in Italy have discovered that harvested fat cells that are injected into areas of the body with radiation damage undergo a dramatic transformation. With death of the fat cell natural tissue cells, which appear to resemble the tissue into which the fat is injected, re-grow. For example, fat that is harvested from the hip or abdomen and then transferred to irradiated breasts begin to take on the characteristics of breast tissue. These cells also normalize the adjacent skin. Recently a plastic surgeon in Massachusetts has begun advertising what he calls a “stem cell” facelift. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that transferred fat cells undergo transformation to stem cells when transferred to the face. In fact, fat grafts to healthy facial tissue are not as well received as they are to irradiated tissue and the effects did not mirror the improvement in the skin as noted in irradiated incipient sides.
Due to new information about stem cells possibly being derived from fat cells, marketing ploys promising “stem cell” facelifts or even “stem cell” breast augmentation are being used by some. Articles may be found throughout the internet touting this “new form of cosmetic surgery” wherein stem cells are derived from fat cells once they are transferred. Patients should understand that there is very little evidence to demonstrate this type of transformation of transferred fat cells into stem cells and that further research is required to support reports about stem cell breast augmentations or facelifts.
For further information about stem cell therapy and plastic surgery, you can go to the resource information site of the American Society of Plastic Surgery or The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.