When Will Stem Cells Be Available for Breast Reconstruction?

I had my mastectomy operation in 2003. Still waiting for this wonderfull stem cell.

Doctor Answers 21

Stem cells in Breast Reconstruction

The use of stem cells in breast reconstruction is very promising.

Currently, high density fat grafting is being used in breast reconstruction. These high density fat grafts do not use 'isolated stem cells', but rather , concentrate the adipose tissue to a pellet.  The use of these fat grafts have been reported in the peer reviewed literature. These high density fat grafts do contain a population of adult stem cells and preliminary findings indicate that they have better retention.  However, we need more data before making any type of marketing claims.

A  "stem cell enhanced fat graft" combines isolated stem cells from the stromal vascular fraction and combines them with a fat graft.  This technique has been discussed for several years at the IFATS meetings. The use of isolated stem cells with a fat graft does require the patient to be part of an IRB study.  Additionally the FDA wants the study to have an approved IND application.   

The state of Texas is the one exception, where the IND application from the FDA is not required. In Texas, a doctor can use stem cells from SVF with only an approved IRB.  Outside of Texas, the next best thing is to get high density fat grafting, which does not need to be part of a clinical trial.

See the link below for more information about adipose stem cells in general. The video was produced several years ago, but is still applicable.


Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Stem cell breast augmentation

Stem Cell Breast Augmentation is an investigational concept at this point but we're definitly will one day be the new solution. Nobody is doing it now in the US for breast reconstruction.

Doctor Meade

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Stem cells are a Long way off!

Stem cells are still in the early experimental stages.There are a lot of issues to be answered including the fact that some stem cells may stimulate tumor cells! This would certainly be counter productive! The model to rebuild a breast, with these cells, is not at all refined. This area does show amazing potential but I do not see it being used yet for many years!

Michael S. Beckenstein, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Post Mastectomy Stem Cell Breast Reconstruction

Stem cells are here!  Fat grafting, depending on the technique incorporated, includes adult stem cells.  Although future developments will most certainly improve upon current methods, you can have the breast reconstructed by serial fat grafting, including stem cells, provided you have sufficient donor fat elsewhere on your body.  Cytori of San Diego markets a device that purifies harvested fat and isolates contained stem cells.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Stem Cells for breast Reconstruction: Many Years in The Future

Stem cell research and the potential applications are tremendously exciting and will certainly revolutionize medical and surgical care!

Practical applications as for breast reconstruction are still at least a decade into the future.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Stem cell research for breast replacement

Stem cell research for organ replacement is decades away. Right now the majority of the work is being done with skin, nerve regeneration and blood cell regeneration following radiation.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

It will likely be awhile

Some of the recent research out of areas like Brazil is very exciting, but until more institutions have more familiarity with the process, you'll probably need to wait.  My guess is that you'll likely find academic/training institutions more likely to develop this line of treatment because of expense.

Brian K. Brzowski, MD
Ogden Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Stem cells for breast reconstruction

There is a great deal of research currently underway to use stem cells in various types of reconstruction. The availability of this type of technology is probably still a few years away at best.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Stem cells are present in fat used for breast reconstruction.

Stem cells are present in fat used for breast reconstruction.  "Growing" a breast from stem cells is a fabulous concept, but is still many years before that may even become possible in laboratories, let alone in a clinical setting. 

Fat grafting is currently being used in some forms of breast reconstruction to help even out contours and add small amounts of volume.  The stem cells that researchers are studying are present in the fat which is used for grafting.  Not all fat cells used for grafting are stem cells though -- only a very small percentage.,

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Stem Cell Breast Reconstruction

Stem Cell use for Breast Reconstruction is in its very early stages.  Fat grafting for breast augmentation is slowly gaining popularity and it is in this grafted fat that we're finding stem cells.
We perform fat grafting in breast reconstruction to correct the imperfections of the initial breast reconstruction.  Stem cells are thought to be responsible for the improvement in the quality of breast skin after radiation.  Fat grafting is also used to smooth out the breast shape in breasts where implants were used for reconstruction.  But the use of fat grafting and stems cells alone to recreate a breast is not a well established procedure yet.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 368 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.