Breast Reconstruction with Autologous Fat and Stem Cells

Breast reconstruction with autologous fat and stem cells allows the gentle restoration of a natural breast shape after tumor removal. As part of an outpatient procedure, the missing breast volume or dimple is carefully filled with stem cell-enriched autologous fat under local anesthesia. Depending on the extent of the volume defect, one or more rounds of treatment may be necessary.

At a Glance

  • Surgery duration: 3 to 4 hours (outpatient)
  • Anesthesia: Exclusively local anesthesia (tumescent anesthesia)
  • Sport: Microcannulas: After 1 week at the earliest (depending on the sport)
    Regular cannulas: After 4 weeks at the earliest (depending on the sport)
  • Normal social activities: After a few days
  • Preliminary examinations: Blood test and sonography/mammography/MRI, further examinations depending on the patient’s state of health
  • Compression garments: Microcannulas: 1 week
    Regular cannulas: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Incapacity to work: 1 to 2 days (may vary from case to case)
  • Check-ups: To be arranged on an individual basis

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Frequently, the removal of a breast tumor is the reason for a strong deviation in shape, necessitating reconstruction of the affected breast. If patients come through the operation well, they often wish to have a natural breast form reconstructed in a fast manner.

Autologous fat and stem cells obtained from body fat are increasingly being seen as an alternative to conventional breast reconstruction with silicone. Unlike silicone, autologous fat is a natural filler that is “real” to the touch and looks natural in any position – whether you are standing, lying down, or moving.

Since 2003, a study has been conducted in Japan with the support of the Japanese government on patients who had a part of the breast removed after breast cancer. Stem cell-enriched autologous fat was used for the breast reconstruction of these patients.

According to a statement made by the head of the study, levels of satisfaction have been constant at 87 % since 2003 (10 years observation period). There were no recurrences of the disease.

The Procedure

After an in-depth advice and medical consultation, you can schedule an appointment for surgery at a date of your choice. At this point in time, treatments which were necessary due to the illness (operation and any radiation therapy) should have already been completed.

The after photo shows the result actually achieved by the treatment. To protect the anonymity of the depicted person individual physical characteristics (e.g., moles, tattoos) might have been removed. Results may vary from patient to patient. Please note that in medicine generally no guarantee for a certain treatment result can be given.

Breast reconstruction is carried out on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia in our specially equipped operating rooms and takes approx. 3 to 4 hours. We use liposuction to harvest the autologous fat required for obtaining stem cells and the actual breast augmentation. Liposculpture is a special form of liposuction, whereby we extract fat from the autologous fat depots by suction. This is done exclusively by hand and is gentle on the tissue. We never use suction machines or scalpels.

Thin microcannulas with a diameter of 1.0 to 2.5 millimeters are used for liposuction or alternatively, conventional regular cannulas with a diameter of 3.0 millimeters upwards. Experience has shown that microcannulas have to be used on very slim women to harvest sufficient fat.

Your body’s own stem cells are obtained from a part of the autologous fat, which are processed with the remaining extracted autologous fat in clean room conditions and injected into your breasts.

Depending on the situation at the outset, breast reconstructions with stem cell-enriched autologous fat sometimes require several rounds of treatment before the desired shape has been reconstructed. Pre-stretching using a mechanical suction bra (BRAVA system) before surgery can be recommended in some cases.

We would be pleased to advise you in a personal medical consultation!

Particularly after extensive breast operations, additional aesthetic-surgical intervention can be necessary to achieve a result which looks as natural as possible.

What Happens Afterwards?

Aftercare is relatively straightforward: You must wear a bandage overnight and wear compression garments afterwards for 1 week if liposuction was carried out with microcannulas. If thicker regular cannulas were used, you need to wear the compression garments for 6 to 8 weeks. A sports bra should be worn for approx. 4 weeks.

You usually should be able to go back to work 1 to 2 days after breast reconstruction surgery with stem cell-enriched autologous fat. It is important that you do not lift anything heavy for a few weeks after surgery.

The type of sport and your individual healing process determine when you will be able to begin sports again. We will monitor your health during the healing process and give you recommendations tailored to your needs. After liposuction with regular cannulas, the healing process takes a few weeks longer.

The Result

The positive results of breast reconstruction with autologous stem cells can be seen by their naturalness. Since the additional volume consists exclusively of your body’s own “material”, the augmented breast feels absolutely “real” to the touch and looks natural in any posture, whether you are at rest or moving. Additionally, the local rejuvenating effect of the stem cells often gives the breasts a younger, firmer and more toned appearance.

Breast augmentation of around one half up to two cup sizes can be achieved. Augmentations of around one cup size are typical. Results may vary from patient to patient. Please note that in medicine generally no guarantee for a certain treatment result can be given. The punctures on the breast made by injection needles almost always heal with scars invisible to the naked eye, just as when blood samples are taken.

After breast reconstruction with stem cell-enriched autologous fat, normally a large part of the new breast volume is retained for years. Refreshments are therefore mostly unnecessary. Results may vary from patient to patient. Please note that in medicine generally no guarantee for a certain treatment result can be given.

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