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Stem Cells Make Fat Fantastic

By New You Editorial
Posted On Jan 05, 2011

For decades, cosmetic surgeons have been using a patient’s excess fat to enhance other body areas, namely the face, breasts and buttocks. Recently, however, a select number of pioneering doctors have enriched these fat transfers with stem cells—with spectacular results.

The stem cells themselves come from the fat, where they lie dormant until separated from the fibers that bind the fat. Dr. Todd Malan, a cosmetic surgeon based in Scottsdale, AZ, has found that much more of the fat ‘takes’ if it’s enriched with stem cells. That’s just the beginning, however.

“The long term effects on the skin are remarkable,” says Malan, who began using stems cells to enhance fat grafts in October of 2009. “There is thickening of the skin, repair of solar damage and repair from [the effects of] aging,” says Malan, who also reports seeing “remarkable healing capacity” for burns and wounds.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that literally become the tissue that they are injected into. Malan also uses them to help fat ‘take’ for breast augmentation and ‘butt lifts’ as natural alternatives to implants. Fat that is injected without stem cell enrichment, he says, has about a 75% chance of becoming permanent rather than dissipating. With the stem cells, he says, 90% to 100% of the fat holds on, thanks to blood vessels that stem cells help build.

Sometimes it’s more than 100%, reports Malan, because the stem cells help the transferred fat become ‘new centers of storage’ so that new weight gain goes to the areas where you want it, namely the face, buttocks or breasts, rather than to the waist or love handles.

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