A cell-enriched fat graft uses only the natural components of your own body. There are no artificial components, such as implants, placed in your body and therefore there is no risk of rejection. It’s a great way to move the fat in your body to the places where you need it – not have it lingering where you don’t. The fat becomes part of your body once more, continually changing as your body naturally ages and evolves - unlike with dermal fillers or prosthetic implants. There is an excitement about cell-enriched fat grafting because it is a promising advance in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery with the potential to replace currently popular procedures, such as implant surgery, for many patients.
How does it work?
Fat transfer is a century-old method for correcting contour or soft tissue defects. Its applications are wide-ranging from otolaryngology (recontouring vocal cord folds) to orthopaedic surgery (filling bony defects). During liposuction, the fat is cut off from the blood supply that keeps it alive. Upon transportation into the desired area, new blood vessels need to form in order for the transplanted graft to get the required oxygen and other nutrients that are essential for its survival. Cells derived from your fat are believed to promote the creation and maintainance of new blood vessels, hence allowing the transplanted graft to successfully integrate with the surrounding tissue and not be reabsorbed by the body.
Using fat alone has not been ideal in the past because of the high reabsorbtion rates of the patients’ own fat. The treatment has often required repeat procedures or created uneveness in results. The difference between fat transfer and the cell-enriched procedure is that clinical experience to date has shown that the results are durable and long-lasting.
One of the most remarkable medical advances in our lifetime has been the discovery of a rich source of stem cells and other regenerative cells which lives in our fat. Stem cells in fat, although only a small percentage of all the important cells, are 1000 times more abundant than from the bone marrow. These fat derived adult stem cells and regenerative cells have demonstrated remarkable to assist the body in healing and overcoming disease and tissue damage. Fat derived stem and regenerative cells have been used recently to repair the heart muscle in patient who have had a recent heart attack and even in patients with long-term heart failure. Stem cells have been shown to help regenerated ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, hair, skin, and organs.
The key steps
The surgery may be performed under either local (with or without sedation) or general anesthesia. It is important to work with your doctor in advance to determine what the best choice is for you and your medical team.
Liposuction is performed to remove an amount of your own excess body fat, usually from your stomach, hips or thighs. This part of the procedure usually lasts one hour but ultimately depends on the amount of fat to be removed.
Even before the liposuction is finished, a medical device called Celution is used to process a portion of the fat tissue and to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells naturally occurring in the fat tissue. The remainder of the extracted tissue is specially washed to remove cell fragments and other impurities.
The concentrated stem and regenerative cells are then combined with the washed fat to create a cell-enriched fat graft, which the doctor carefully injects into the desired area of the body or face.
On average, the entire procedure takes between 3 and 4 hours.
Patients have found that the cell-enriched treatment produces pleasing, natural looking results without repeat procedures and problems with fat reabsorbtion. Because surgeons are using the fat your body naturally produces it is your body that is creating the resource – not a synthetic laborartory. Of course, it means that it is also a ‘2 in 1’ procedure where fat is removed from where it is unwanted and used to enhance another area where it is needed. This saves operation and recovery time as well as cost. For operations such as breast augmentation it also means that the patient is left without large scars – a major bonus.
Am I a candidate?
Generally, candidates for the cell-enriched procedure include women who would like to enhance their appearance, enlarge their breasts without implants or who have had implants in the past but are unhappy with the results. Contact your doctor and discuss your desires and expectations and determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a cell-enriched procedure.
What Results Can I Expect?
You can expect to see a noticeable difference very soon after surgery. The results will feel and look natural. Over time, as you heal and the swelling subsides, the results will be even more noticeable. Your surgeon will be able to give you a full explanation of what what effect this procedure will have on you after he has completed an examination.
How much does cell-enriched Cosmetic surgery cost?
Costs vary by procedure, the need for general anaesthsia, and what follow-up care is provided. All this can be explained to you during a consultation.
Is it safe?
Clinical experience to date has demonstrated that cell-enriched fat grafting is safe. The most common worry is whether the procedure increases the risk of cancer. However, there is no evidence linking the delivery of cell-enriched fat to the breast with the development of cancer, nor does the procedure affect the diagnosis of cancer in the future. With access to sophisticated radiology and modern digital mammography equipment, radiologists can easily identify a tumour from fat from a cell-enriched transfer.
Over the years physicians have used and refined many different methods for tissue collection and tissue injection, and explored many options in an effort to address the problems of fat transfer. Recent studies suggest the use of adipose-derived stem and regenerative cell (ADRC) technology is a viable means to improve treatment of soft tissue defects. Experience suggests that enriching a fat graft with ADRCs provides several benefits: it stimulates increased levels of growth factors which help form and maintain new blood vessels which in turn, provide necessary oxygen and nutrients for survival, thus allowing a graft to maintain volume. ADRCs are capable of acting by at least three mechanisms: they naturally express a range of growth factors thereby enhancing formation of new blood vessels and stimulating repair and regeneration; they can differentiate to form replacement tissues and structures (for example, fat cells or new blood vessels); and they and other cell types within the ADRCs can decrease the inflammatory response, creating an environment for healing over scarring. In order to bring this powerful cell population into the operating theatre, Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. developed a medical device, Celution, that provides the physician with a cost and time effective means of controlling the variables of fat grafting.
Your next step
If you’re interested in a natural way to improve your body then a cell-enriched fat transfer could be for you.
Email or call Stefanie Bacher, Patient Advocacy Relations at Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. to find a cell-enrich physician closest to you.
Phone: +44 77 0202 7053
Further information can also be found on www.cellenrich.eu.