How Long Does Preparation of Fat for Stem Cell Breast Augmentation Take?

A patient has the following question regarding stem cell breast augmentation:

I am interested in a breast augmentation with stem cell-enriched autologous fat. What’s the purpose of “stem cell enrichment” and how long does this process take?

The breast augmentation with stem cell-enriched autologous fat is a special method of autologous fat transfer (lipofilling). The problem of common lipofilling, which is an injection of “untreated” body fat without additional stem cell-enrichment, is that typically a relatively high rate of the added volume gets lost after the procedure. This means the additional breast volume is degrading for the most part in many patients and is often lasting only for a few months if “untreated” body fat is used for breast augmentation. Repeat treatments are thus often necessary.

Results that are lasting in the long-term can basically be achieved only by the additional enrichment of the harvested body fat with stem cells. Results may vary from patient to patient. Please note that in medicine generally no guarantee for a certain treatment result can be given. In this special kind of autologous fat transfer the body fat gets enriched with autologous stem cells in a laboratory procedure and afterwards injected into the breast. This stem cell enrichment makes the important difference between various types of autologous fat transfers and allows for a significantly better durability of the result. The process of stem cell enrichment is performed immediately after fat extraction and takes about 1½ hours. In conventional autologous fat transfer there are also stem cells contained in the implanted body fat, however, in most cases considerably too little to achieve long-lasting results.

In detail the process of a breast augmentation with stem cells is as follows: First, body fat is harvested using a special method of liposuction (liposculpture). Liposculpture is performed by hand, optionally with microcannulas or regular liposuction cannulas, and is considerably more tissue-conserving than the conventional mechanical liposuctions. Immediately after the extraction of the fat this body fat gets enriched with the patient’s own stem cells and – this is the last work step – injected into the breast. Normally one surgery appointment is sufficient; repetitions of the treatment are almost always superfluous. Results may vary from patient to patient. Please note that in medicine generally no guarantee for a certain treatment result can be given.

The entire treatment, including liposuction, stem cell enrichment, and injection into the breast, is performed within the same procedure and takes about 4 hours. In case of standard autologous fat transfer the process of stem cell enrichment is omitted.

Because our patients’ security is of utmost priority we exclusively work under local anesthesia, we don’t do general anesthesia at all. Scalpels aren’t used as well and we perform our procedures under the greatest possible body protection. In case of a normal healing process no scars develop that would be visible to the naked eye. An inpatient stay is superfluous as well and the patient can directly be discharged home on the day of intervention.

The aftercare is easy: Compression garments have to be worn for 1 week, a sports bra is necessary for about 4 weeks.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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