In May, a joint task force of the two leading plastic surgery associations, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), released its statement on the use of stem cells in aesthetic surgery. The core message from this task force was that there was little scientific evidence to suggest that the use of stem cells in these procedures conferred benefits that were in keeping with the types of claims being made by surgeons who were advertising the procedures.
The science on the procedure is limited. The task force found that of the 9000 papers that had been produced on stem cell therapy, only 20 of them were peer reviewed studies about aesthetic procedures in plastic surgery.
The task force noted that many surgeons claim to be using stem cells or stem cell therapy when stem cells are only transferred incidentally not intentionally as part of a generalized fat grafting procedure.
The task force noted that even if a practice was performing filtration and concentration of stem cells, this should not be promoted because stem-cell filtering technology has not yet been FDA approved. The FDA is withholding approval of the technology over concerns that the concentrated transported stem cells could turn cancerous. Studies of this risk are currently being performed, and may lead to the approval of the technology, but that has yet to be determined.
Breast augmentation is one of the procedures where stem cell-enhanced fat grafting has the most marketing appeal, but it is also one of the areas where there is the most concern. Because the breast is a cancer-prone region of the body, transporting potentially cancerous cells to the breast seems unwise.
If you would like to learn more about what breast augmentation techniques are proven to be safe and effective, please contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Fata in Indianapolis, Indiana.