Natural breast augmentation and stem cell breast augmentation are two closely related procedures. It can be difficult to make the distinction between them, but there is a difference between them, and it lies in the stem cells. Both procedures use a patient's own fat to add volume to the breast, but a true stem cell breast augmentation adds a little something more.
"Some doctors use the term natural breast augmentation and you're not quite sure what they're talking about," describes Dr. Todd Malan, a a cosmetic surgeon from Scottsdale, AZ with experience using stem cells. In natural breast augmentation, fat is removed from the patient via liposuction and it is then filtered. The purified fat is injected into the breast to add volume. "The term 'natural breast augmentation' is most often referencing the use of fat in lieu of using an implant," he says.
When physicians refer to stem cell breast augmentation, this usually means that the fat has been mixed with concentrated stem cells. Dr. Malan says, "A stem cell breast augmentation is where you actually take fat and enrich it with stem cells from a different batch of fat. That mixture is what's injected into the breast for improved survival."
Patients typically lose some of the fat volume following natural breast augmentation because the cells die off. Many believe that the concentrated stem cells improve the survival rate of the fat cells. With the stem cells, the fat cells can better integrate into the breast and establish their own blood supply. Proper circulation to the fat cells keeps them alive and patients don't lose as much volume.
"The stem cell breast augmentation has been shown to be very beneficial," says Dr. Malan. "There are studies that are underway and we need to do more studies to gather all of the information we need. Now we're looking at more ways and creative ways that we can use these stem cells to our advantage." Dr. Malan says that stem cells are showing promise in facelift procedures, hand rejuvenation and buttock augmentation as well.