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Stem Cells and Plastic Surgery: What Does the Future Hold?

Stem Cells and Plastic Surgery: What Does the Future Hold?

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Stem cells are on the cutting edge of medicine as they have the power to restore beauty, heal damaged tissues, and the potential to treat and cure diseases. In the world of plastic surgery, silicone breast implants and BOTOX Cosmetic could one day be things of the past. Stem cells may provide doctors with the ability to use a patient's own stem cells to achieve desired cosmetic results.

While conducting embryonic stem cell research, it was discovered that stem cells can also be extracted from fat tissue. Fat stem cells have the same potential as embryonic stem cells, except for the ability to differentiate into sperm or ova. Unlike embryonic stem cells, stem cells extracted from fat are abundant, easily available, and pose no ethical or political controversy.

Because plastic surgery procedures are not considered "drug therapy" by the FDA, they are not regulated by "drug therapy" guidelines. This is good news since surgeons will be able to offer stem cell options in cosmetic procedures sooner rather than later.

For over a decade, surgeons have been extracting and reinjecting fat cells into tissues. They now understand that fat processing techniques resulting in a high concentration of adult stem cells produce the best long-term results. Proper fat processing techniques include centrifugation and decanting of the extracted fat. Examples of plastic surgeries where stem cell enhanced fat transfers can be performed are facial fat injections, breast augmentation, Brazilian butt lift, and hand rejuvenation. Other areas of stem cell therapy that are being researched include radiotherapy injuries, tissue defects, lumpectomy reconstruction, and breast reconstruction after cancer.

Stem cell therapy has the potential to provide a major paradigm shift in plastic surgery. Instead of using "plastic" to create illusions, surgeons will be able to guide one's body to rejuvenate itself.

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