Traditionally, breasts are augmented with either silicone or saline implants. And while the use of fat to augment the breasts is still being studied, stem cells may also be a way to enlarge them. “Fat grafting may be easier for reconstruction purposes because there is no breast tissue, and separated stem cells may make the procedure even that much easier,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Renato Calabria, MD.
While the only current viable option for breast reconstruction is implants, stem cells may one day serve as a way to create bigger breasts. Fat injections are considered helpful in improving skin texture in the breast where there had been damage by radiation therapy to treat cancer. In Britain, trials are underway using fat-derived stem cells to restore breasts that had cancerous lumps removed. The procedure can only address fullness to some degree. And since only one-quarter of the extracted stem cells can be used, they must be mixed with fat to get a decent amount of concentrate. “You’re not going to be able to get a big size because you can only improve the breast by about one cup size,” explains Dr. Calabria.
It is not yet known if fat transfer to the breasts with stem cells is feasible for those with healthy breasts seeking enlargement. “The studies are too limited as of now, and further investigation needs to be done to show what the benefits are for using fat-derived stem cells on those with healthy breasts,” says Boca Raton, FL, plastic surgeon Jason N. Pozner, MD. However, it is still not known whether the use of stem cells in the breast can increase the risk of breast cancer. Over in Tokyo, San Diego plastic surgeon Steven Cohen, MD reviewed the results of breast augmentation with fat-derived stem and regenerative cells. Some of the patients, who were three years post-surgery, showed excellent results for small volume augmentation. However, long-term data needs to be collected to prove its safety and efficacy.
Belly fat may not be that bad.
According to the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, some areas of the body, like the lower abdomen and inner thighs, contain the greatest concentration of stem cells. When fat was removed from these areas with liposuction, it was found to contain more stem cells than fat tissues sourced from other parts of the body. The study concluded that the lower abdomen contains five times more stem cells than the upper abdomen.