Using Your Own Adipose Tissue and Stem Cells
A fat graft, also called autologous adipose tissue transplantation, uses a patient’s own adipose tissue to increase the volume of fat in the area of reconstruction. The use of adipose tissue promotes three-dimensional reconstruction in patients who have undergone a traumatic or post-surgical event such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy, brain surgery, or who are in need of reconstructive surgery as a result of an accident or injury.
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy. A patient’s adipose tissue and stem cells can be used in breast reconstructive surgery. Names of procedures such as TRAM flap, DIEP flap and others use a patient’s adipose tissue, minor muscles and connective tissues taken from the abdomen to transplant onto the breast site. This procedure is preferred by some breast cancer patients because it combines a mastectomy with an abdominoplasty, and allows the breast to be reconstructed with one’s own tissue, either alone or with an implant.
If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed. To create a balance in appearance and structure, a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation may be recommended for the unaffected breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts. Use of adipose tissue is recommended in patients who require corrections in asymmetry.
Recent advances have been published using adipose stem cells, combined with other growth factors, to regenerate bone tissue for reconstruction in skull surgery.