New procedure uses stem cells & patient's own body fat to rebuild breasts
POSTED: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 8:57am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — It's almost every woman's dream: Getting rid of unwanted fat and getting a breast enhancement at the same time.
Dr. Lu Jean Feng is one of a handful of surgeons in the country using a revolutionary procedure that separates stem cells found in fat and then redistributing it into the breasts.
Colleen DeVito is a breast cancer survivor and, after a double mastectomy, she wanted a more natural option.
"I had immediate reconstruction using my own muscles, blood vessels and tissue," Colleen says.
She also used a new procedure called Adipocyte Derived Regenerative Stem Cells, or ADRCs.
Researchers are studying fat stem cells to potentially treat burns, radiation injuries and inflammatory bowel disease and, while it's been used for the past few years in cosmetic surgery, it's still considered experimental and not FDA approved.
Dr. Feng uses liposuction to remove unwanted fat and then processes the fat in a device that separates the stem cells.
"An enzyme is thrown in there to release all the fat cells and growth factors and immature vessels and stem cells then it's separated from the fat cells and concentrated," Dr. Feng says.
After it's done, what's left is injected and formed into the breast.
"This breast is more of a teardrop shape that follows the natural breast skin lines and this is a great way to fill it and make a more natural looking breast," Dr. Feng says.
The procedure can be used to smooth the lines of implants or fill the void if implants are removed.
It can also improve congenital conditions such as uneven breast size.
For women like Colleen, it helped with both the physical and mental recovery of breast cancer.
"To wake up after such a traumatic event and have breasts and then after the second surgery they looked that much better I just cried it meant the world to me," Colleen says.
Dr. Feng has done more than 50 natural breast enhancements.
The procedure is not meant for obese or very thin patients and cost is around $14,000.