Can Banking Fat Cells Save Your Life Later?


Banking fat from your liposuction procedure today may be instrumental to your health in the future.

What if somebody told you that your fat could one day save your life or the life of someone in your family? It may sound like science fiction but it seems to be the direction that science is heading. Heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, multiple scleroses: these are but a few common ailments that scientists in Europe have been studying, specifically the application of autologous stem cells to the treatment and curing of diseases. And while there hasn't been conclusive proof yet, indications have been quite promising.

rick perry stem cell fat banking
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In light of the recent spinal fusion and nerve decompression surgery that Texas governor Rick Perry (R) recently underwent using adult autologous stem cells, it is safe to say the use of stem cells is no longer just speculation. The Texas Tribune reports Gov. Perry also received an injection of his own stem cells. While the details of his procedure are unclear, one thing is certain, Gov. Perry chose to undergo an experimental procedure using his own stem cells. It has been reported that Gov. Perry is recuperating well from his surgery.

According to, a stem cell is unique in it's ability to divide and form "daughter cells" of which can be new stem cells or even more exciting, specialized cells that have take on the function of surrounding cells. For example, stem cells can divide into new blood, brain, or brain cells that function as such. It is due to this extraordinary capability that researchers are hoping stem cells can bring to the battle against diseases by regenerating, repairing or becoming new tissues that are diseased or damaged.

Autologous stem cells may be found in abundance in human fat. It has been speculated and currently being studied that stem cells may have regenerative aspects. One field in which stem cells are being actively used is the aesthetic sphere with fat transfers. Although there is no proof that stem cells actually increase the survival of fat transfers, since the advent of liposuction technologies such as {!Body-Jet} or VASER Liposelection which remove more intact fat (ie. more viable stem cells), it appears success rates of fat transfers have increased.

"We know that autologous stem cells age as we do and become less viable and their ability to differentiate or to transform into other tissue diminishes dramatically as time goes on," describes Scottsdale cosmetic surgeon Dr. Todd Malan, "And certain disease processes such as diabetes can completely wipe that ability out." It is therefore in the patient's best interest to bank their fat as early as possible, while stem cells are still viable and retain the majority of their differentiation potential. One of the pioneers in fat transfer, Dr. Malan discusses the benefits of banking your fat for future use, not only for cosmetic use but potentially for fighting diseases as well.

According to their website, Dallas-based BioLife is the only facility in the United States that cryogenically preserves fat for later use. Dr. Malan, who was first introduced to the company in the early formation phase of the company in the US, believes that if banking fat becomes commercially viable, BioLife will be the model that will be pervasive in the marketplace due to their high quality design with state-of-the-art safety and monitoring factors.

"The reason we began offering fat storage or stem cell storage for our patients is because we see the potential future for having these cells for life-saving therapy," states Dr. Malan, "I think any responsible liposuction surgeon today should inform his patients of their choices: throw the fat away now or store it for later, in case stem cells prove to be a life-saving therapy awaiting them or their family members."

According to BioLife, the cost of banking fat is typically built into procedure cost and dependent on the amount of fat that is to be frozen. The first year's cost includes the processing fee and starts at $1,700 and subsequent years afterward at $200 per year.

One of Dr. Malan's patients, a nurse who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, came to him to have her fat and consequently, stem cells harvested for banking purposes. "There are trials currently underway in Scandinavia that are using stem cells for the treatment of multiple sclerosis," says Dr. Malan, "My patient wants her stem cells harvested now, while they're as healthy as possible, fully knowing that there isn't an indication now but there very well may be an indication 3 or 5 years from now." Should that happen, having relatively healthy stem cells available could just be what cures her disease.