Fat Grafting Finally Deemed ‘Safe’ And What That Means for the Future of Cosmetic Surgery

The safety of fat grafting has been a hotly contested issue for well over 20 years. There have been numerous concerns that fat grafted into the breast may prevent accurate mammograms or hide unsafe traces of breast cancer. However in a recent effort by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to put this issue to rest, a team calling themselves the Fat Graft Task Force met to review years of research and trial information. Their consensus: there is no evidence or indication that fat grafting is unsafe for surgical patients.

While the task force admits to the need for more testing, they see no reason why fat grafting techniques shouldn’t be employed or embraced. For years, fat grafting has been used to liposuction excess fat from the body to augment or reconstruct another part of the body. And while fat grafting is typically used for breast augmentation or reconstructive surgery, recent science shows an emergence of even more widespread options.

In fact, there was a study done in Brazil recently that compared the number of stem cells found in the fat of various parts of the body. The first study of its kind, the researchers performed liposuction in various areas of 23 women to ultimately conclude that there is a significantly higher concentration of stem cells in the lower abdomen and inner thighs than in any other fatty area of the body.

Stem cells are unique in that they are unspecialized. In short, this means they can multiply and divide to make any other type of cell – making them integral to cell repair. Thus, stem cells have the potential for healing and repairing heart failure, spinal injuries, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. This is also great news for the potential of fat grafting, where stem-cell rich areas of fat can be used to reconstruct other parts of the body – particularly to augment the breasts and correct wrinkles and imperfections of the face.

One such technique has emerged; it is a non surgical procedure that injects pluripotent cells, including adult stem cells, into the face or skin of patients to renew cell growth and restore the skin’s smoothness and firmness. If this wrinkle treatment catches on in popularity, it could one day be a serious competitor to popular injectables and fillers like Botox®, Dysport®, and Restylane®.

While the discussion over stem cell use is always controversial, the potential use of these unique cells is interesting to note. Whether or not stem cells find a permanent place in the world of plastic surgery remains unknown – but it sure makes for interesting discussion in the world of scientific advancement!