Stem cells are cells whose fate has not yet been "decided".
They can give rise to many different cell types, through a process called "differentiation".
Depending on the potential, stem cells are divided into:
1. totipotent: able to differentiate into any type of tissue;
2. pluripotent (or multipotent): they can differentiate only in some tissue types;
3. unipotent: they can only give rise to a specific tissue.
With regard to the collection site, stem cells are divided into:
to. autologous embryonic;
c. from placental blood;
d. as an adult: they are pluripotent and provide for the maintenance of tissues and their repair after damage. Already used for bone marrow transplants. These cells are also capable of differentiating into certain tissue types.
Further scientific studies have now shown that adult stem cells are concentrated in large quantities in abdominal adipose tissue. These therefore, if isolated and retransplanted, can be used in reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery for tissue reconstruction.
Applications in Plastic Surgery
1. Reconstructive and Aesthetic Breast Surgery
Breast asymmetry, reconstruction after lumpectomies; radiotherapy outcomes; breast augmentation.
2. Body remodeling
Buttocks, soft tissue defects of legs and arms.
3. Scars or skin defects.
Cheeks, lips, chin contouring and facial rejuvenation.
5. Facial rejuvenation in combination (or not) with a face lift.
6. Diabetic ulcers.
7. Hand rejuvenation.
The fat is extracted from the abdomen, hips or legs and is processed through a machine from which adult pluripotent stem cells (ADRCs) are then isolated. Once isolated, the stem cells are added in high concentrations to the fat taken and replanted in the areas to be treated with "stem-cell enriched fat grafting" techniques.
The whole procedure takes about 3-4 hours and can also be performed under local anesthesia with sedation.
These techniques therefore involve the use of stem cells retransplanted together - or not - with autologous fat.
Patients might consider this type of procedure when they want to improve a part of their body naturally following aging, weight loss, tissue damage, loss of breast volume following breastfeeding and in general to reshape their body.
There are many ways to use your own stem cell enriched fat. This can be used on its own in the case of breast augmentation, allowing for a size increase or two, if the patient desires a larger increase, then fat and stem cells can be combined to coat the breast implants and give a more natural looking result. The choice depends on the wishes and expectations of the patient and on how much body fat is available.
What are the advantages of this technique?
Stem cell and fat transplantation, as well as traditional lipofilling, is a more natural way to improve your body. No foreign bodies are used (prostheses, fillers, etc.).
The material used is simply one's own fat and stem cells and the sampling is very simple to carry out.
The technique is minimally invasive and allows the surgeon to enrich the fat with a particular type of stem cells (ADRCs). These cells are adult stem cells and are taken from one's own body and therefore not from embryos or laboratory samples.
This type of stem cell helps the fat survive where it is transplanted by supplying it with blood, oxygen and nutrients.
With the help of one's own body fat, moved from one anatomical area to another, the treated areas will appear, to the eye and to the touch, similar to all the others of one's body.
The fat is extracted from the abdomen, hips or legs and is processed through a machine from which adult pluripotent stem cells (ADRCs) are then isolated. Once isolated, the stem cells are added in high concentrations to the fat taken and replanted in the areas to be treated with "stem-cell enriched fat grafting" techniques. The whole procedure takes about 3-4 hours and can also be performed under local anesthesia with sedation.
Immediately after the operation, patients should expect: bruising, swelling, tenderness of the treated areas.
The final result will be visible after 2-3 months.
The treated areas will initially appear swollen due to the infiltration used to perform the method: this fluid will gradually be eliminated from the body.
Like any surgical technique, stem cell and autologous fat transplantation involves risks associated with anesthesia and the surgical act itself.
This technique sometimes requires several interventions in order to achieve the desired result.
The side effects are not yet fully known but according to the latest scientific studies they are the same side effects associated with the traditional fat transplant. Being a very recent technique it is clearly still under careful scientific evaluation, however all the studies conducted so far have given absolutely positive results.
With the use of stem cells, in Plastic Surgery we have entered a new era which is precisely that of "Plastic Surgery and Natural Aesthetics", where prostheses, fillers and major surgical interventions will be used less and less, giving way to autologous materials .
Even if it is still in an initial and pioneering phase, stem cells represent the real future of plastic and aesthetic surgery.