According to a special review included in the June issue of the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, adipose stem cells (stem cells found in fat tissue) hold a lot of promise for the plastic surgery field and for the medical field at large.
One of the best ways to access these cells is through liposuction—which is why so far, plastic surgeons are the doctors who have been at the forefront of innovations in this area. Research has been performed on using adipose stem cells (called ASCs for short) for soft tissue augmentation procedures, and for use in promoting the healing of difficult wounds.
Breast augmentation is one procedure that ASCs could be used for (including for regenerative purposes following implant removal), as is regrowing fat in patients who suffer from lipodystrophy, a medical condition that causes abnormal fat loss.
The wide availability of these cells, and the ease with which they can be obtained, makes them an incredibly promising source for use in a variety of medical procedures—and not just plastic surgery-related ones. ASCs can develop into bone, cartilage, and muscle, and scientists think they may even eventually find a way to utilize them to regrow bone inside patients’ bodies, eliminating the need for bone grafts (which are painful and extremely invasive).
For now, all of this is still very new, and there is much to learn. But the possibilities are exciting!