Written by Nicci Talbot
How to Have a ‘Natural’ Breast Implant
Stem cell implants are a new form of cosmetic surgery. This article explores the pros and cons compared to silicone implants, what it costs, and where to get treatment.
Stem cells are found throughout the body. The two main types of human stem cells are embryonic and adult. What distinguishes them from regular cells is their ability to self-renew and regenerate tissue. In terms of breast implants, those involving stem cells feel and look more natural than traditional implants because they are made of the body’s own cells and tissues rather than foreign implants such as silicone.
Stem cell research is an exciting field of medicine and much research has been directed at finding cures for significant illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. It has been used for regenerative purposes – e.g. mastectomy, and also for heart injuries and facial scarring. The cosmetic advantages are a relatively new area.
How Do Stem Cell Breast Implants Work?
It involves taking extra fat from the stomach or thighs, half of which is developed to extract the stem cells. These stem cells are then added to the rest of the fat and injected over time into the breast tissue to increase their volume. It’s thought that stem cells stimulate blood flow to the fat enabling it to survive and remain healthy. The result is softer, more natural looking breast implants that should not cause problems such as leakage, infection, cysts or rupturing.
Are Stem Cell Breast Implants Widely Available?
Kotaro Yoshimura, a surgeon at Tokyo University Medical School founded the technique in 2004 and has treated 39 patients so far with no major problems. It is currently under medical review in the US. It is legal in the EU and trials on 30 women will take place from May onwards at the London Breast Institute. If this proves successful private patients will be able to receive the treatment for around £6,500.
Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Breast Implants
The advantage of using stem cells in that they are part of the body so we don’t reject them as we might traditional implants such as silicone or saline. Silicone is a foreign object, which can cause complications such as infection, rupturing or scarring. The addition of stem cells to the fat enables it to establish its own blood supply and remain healthy rather than dying or hardening into cysts.
However, the implants will only increase breast size by 1-2 cup sizes (half the extra volume of regular implants) so aren’t suitable for women who want a significant increase in breast size. Also, if a woman is very slim she may not have enough body fat for the stem cell harvest. This seems a small price to pay for more natural looking breasts that work with your body rather than against them.
Stem Cell breast implants are an attractive ‘natural’ alternative to traditional silicone implants. Further tests and research are underway to determine the long-term efficacy of stem cell therapy for cosmetic and regenerative surgery.