Recently seen on The Doctors, UK physicians in a London hospital are performing liposuction and freezing the extracted fat to save for later procedures, such as facial rejuvenation. Essentially a fat transfer, the unique aspect of this issue is the freezing of the fat for later use. Although the episode focuses on a London hospital that is freezing fat for the future, fat banks are already in the US.
Previously seen on American Health and Beauty, BioLife Cell Bank allows patients in the US to to submit their fat (through a participating physician) from a previous liposuction procedure to be deep frozen in cryo preservation. The frozen fat, when later needed, may be used as a volumizer in the breast area in the Natural Breast Augmentation, in the buttock area during a Brazilian Butt Lift or even as a facial filler in lieu of synthetic facial fillers.
A fact that many physicians and dermatologists are beginning to agree upon is as we age, we not only experience skin laxity and droopiness, we also lose volume and fat in the facial area. These issues may be addressed with facial fillers such as Sculptra, Radiesse or Restylane but many patients are opting for using their own fat to bring back the volume. Freezing fat now for facial rejuvenation later may be just the ticket for many patients who are planning ahead.
While banking fat may seem a bit out there, it is important to point out that this technology has been used for many other medical outlets. Ovaries, sperm and other tissue have been frozen for future use in many cases. It is only recently as fat transfer technique has improved, with increased fat survival rate in the new site that freezing fat has become not only feasible but an exciting new option for the future.
The cost of banking frozen fat begins at $2,000 for the first year alone but Dr. Ordon points out that as time progresses, technological advances may mean less expensive and better extraction of stem and regenerative cells from the harvested and frozen fat. Dr. Ordon says, "If you freeze your fat now, there may come a time that you can harness that potential stem cell growth."
Fat that is frozen today could potentially be super-charged with extracted stem and regenerative cells - current technology is already working on this retrieval process. As technology improves, and if the clinical trials that are underway now on stem and regenerative cells prove to be as beneficial as they claim, we may all be opening up an account in a nearby fat bank.