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Stem Cells - The Future of Breast Augmentation?

Posted Mar 31 2009 11:14pm

Stem cells are now being used for Breast Augmentation overseas. Specifically, the procedure is gaining in popularity in Japan and is being introduced in Great Britain. The procedure involves removing fat from the abdomen (fat is rich in stem cells) and using a machine to concentrate the stem cells prior to injecting it into the breasts. It's estimated that women can achieve a cup size or greater enhancement to their breast size.

What are my thoughts on stem cell breast augmentation?

First of all, it's going to be a long time before the FDA approves any devices designed to concentrate stem cells for cosmetic breast augmentation. With 1 in 9 women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, it is extremely important for physicians to be sure that stem cell breast augmentation does not increase the risk of breast cancer, delay or interfere with the diagnosis of breast cancer, or worsen the prognosis of breast cancer if it is diagnosed.

Second, many physicians are performing fat grafting to the breast, which is the closest thing we currently have to stem cell breast enhancement. The big difference between the two is that generic fat grafting to the breast doesn't have as high a concentration of stem cells, but the stem cells are still present. One of the controversies surrounding fat grafting to the breast revolves around possible mammographic changes that can occur with the surgery. For this reason, I perform fat grafting to the breasts very sparingly, and only when breast implants are not possible. I have been happy with the results in the rare patients whom I perform this on, however.

For now, stem cell breast augmentation is only available for women who are willing to travel overseas. For the rest of Americans, it's Breast Implants or Bust! ;)

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For the ASPS cautionary statement regarding fat grafting to the breast, click here.

Thanks for reading,
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.
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