Are silicone implants history?

Are silicone breast implants history?

This is a question that 20 of the world’s leading plastic surgeons and cell biology and tissue engineering researchers are debating in these coming days in Montreux, Switzerland. Why do we implant bags of silicone in our bodies, with all the recent controversies to reconstruct breasts after cancer surgery or for cosmetic augmentation purposes, when we could use our own excess fat instead? In fact cosmetic and reconstructive surgeons have wanted to do exactly that for many years and enabling this simple goal, will usher in a completely new era of regenerative plastic surgery.

The technique of lipo-filling is widely used throughout the world today by an ever increasing number of plastic surgeons for a variety of cosmetic applications and involves lipo-suction of small fat clusters from one part of the body and reinjection, after purification, in another. Despite ever increasing usage and improvements of these techniques and all the positive advantages that come with using one’s own fat tissue, including the elimination of immunosuppressive drugs, the fact that often as much as 50 – 60% of fat transferred re-absorbs within 6 to 12 months post implantation, remains. One major reason for this is the lack of blood supply in the fat graft and therefore growing blood vessels, or neo-angiogenesis, is a key focus of research today.

It turns out, for instance, that our own fat contains one of the largest and most easily accessible sources of patient-own adult stem cells which, when isolated, purified and concentrated with modern technology and mixed back with the fat graft, have been shown to help in the process of growing new blood vessels to keep the graft alive.

“It is hard to say how far away this new dramatic revolution in tissue replacement will be, but we are getting ever closer and, once we are able to unlock the secret of neo-angiogenesis, the gates to the creation of patient-own fat grafts will be widely opened, ushering in a whole new era of tissue transplantation” says Phillip Blondeel, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery and chairman of the G20 Forum for regenerative plastic surgery to be held in Montreux, Switzerland on 3rd and 4th September.

The G20 forum (www.G20regenerativeplasticsurgery.com) is bringing together world leading surgeons and researchers to review status of knowledge and create practical clinical and scientific research collaborations to accelerate adoption into clinical practice.

“At the end of this meeting we will have clearer idea just how long it will take to crack the code of complex cellular signalling processes involved in stabilizing fat grafts.” says Michael Joos, group director of Avance Medical, a European cell-technologies company and major sponsor of the event “and we are proud to work together with the forward thinking team led by Dr. Adrian Heini at Clinic La Prairie to host this important event.”