Perception on fat and stem cell transplant | Plastic surgery Korea KIES-U

7:09 PM

Science does not allow us to talk about something that is not proven. The difference between science with myth or religion is that science only talks about things that have been confirmed. Medical sector is a part of science therefore, the doctor should only communicate about scientific truth as well.

However, the medical field has a lot of technical and professional terminologies that cannot be understood without any basic knowledge. Therefore, it is important to change these terms to what the patients can understand. We need to use some daily life words or terminologies when we treat the patients.

In the internet, we see contents that both professionals and nonprofessionals have written. We do not know what is scientific or not, and we do not know what is for marketing purpose or not. I think that as a doctor, it is important to let the patients know what contents are reliable or not.

This applies to fat / stem cell transplant as well.

In this era of capitalism, people are excited and concentrate on new products and want to purchase these products. The professionals need to provide evidence that these products are effective and safe to use. The patients should listen to these evidence and make decision on the purchase. However, there are millions of false information on the internet with marketing purposes.

Fat transplant in exact terminology is called ‘Free fat graft operation by injection’. As soon as the fat is removed from the donor site, the supply of oxygen/nutrition is stopped. The core question then would be how long this fat can last without oxygen/nutrition until it is transplanted to a new site.

If we conduct the surgery in a quite, stable and ready environment, there would be less trauma on the patient and the overall transplant process would be quick with high success rate. The fat that has been transplanted does not grow its vessels but gets oxygen/nutrition from the surrounding areas. So engrafting large amount of fat would not be meaningful. Small amount of fat transplanted in a large area would lead to better success rate.

But if this is applied, there would be many complaints from patients. They would think that there is no effect with the given cost. In order to satisfy the patients, the hospital now puts much more fat than necessary and also provide 2nd, 3rd, and 4th revision if necessary.

There still is a problem with the graft success rate. In order to improve on this, stem cell transplant has been carried out simultaneously. We also provide an explanation to the patients that this simultaneous activity increases the success rate.

In 2013 during the US Plastic Surgery Association Meeting, it was notified that stem cell transplant is still not reliable as there are not enough related data, findings and complications that may arise. Also it was notified that stem cell transplant should not be used as a marketing tool to gather the patients. However, not much has changed since.

The studies on the stem cell transplant are still under say and there is no concrete finding that we can share. We only presume that something would happen with a few concrete facts. We derive preadipocyte and enrich it to put into an area such as your wrinkles on the face. The preadipocyte are young compared to other cells therefore one can presume that they can last longer and result in higher success rate. It is still believed that minimum of 5 to 10 years are required for us to find if the stem cell transplant is safe and has no complications.

I do not recommend stem cell transplant unless it is really necessary (for example, when you need a revision, have a severe scar, or if there are no other choices). I hope that the patients too ,would give much thought into fat and stem cell transplant.

This is all for today. Thank you.

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