Stem cell technology may improve fat grafting results. This could mean good news for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, from breast augmentation to repairing facial trauma.
Medical technology company Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. is combining fat grafting with stem cell technology to create an effective procedure for women who need breast augmentation, be it for medical or cosmetic purposes.
The procedure, still in development, is called a cell-enriched fat graft. It is achieved using the company’s Celution 800 system to process the patient’s fat cells to increase the concentration of (adipose) stem stem cells before they are implanted.
During the procedure, surgeons can use a patient’s adipose stem cells to influence the fat tissue that is part of a grafting procedure. This is said to result in blood vessel growth, which in turn enriches the grafted fat cells and makes them healthier. The process also helps create sturdy cellular structure within the grafted fat tissue. The result is an improved fat graft that is likely to withstand complications and regenerate missing tissue with high success.
The company released interim results last month at the 32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. A follow up with 32 women who underwent the special procedure showed that 73 percent were still satisfied with the outcome of the graft six months later. Also, 82 percent of the physicians were satisfied with the results.
Still, the new technology may not improve every situation. This procedure may be most challenging for breast cancer patients who have had radiation treatment after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, Cytori investor relations director Tom Baker said. This is because the available breast tissue is often damaged by radiation and difficult to truly graft well, regardless of the system available. When a fat grafting procedure does not “take,” the new fat is often reabsorbed by the body.
Cytori is still working to get its Celution 800 technology approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, the procedure has already been available in Europe and elsewhere since 2007.