The latest developments in adipose stem cell research were not discovered in a Petri dish or in a lab. Instead this promising revolution in medicine was inspired via unexpected benefits resulting from facial fat grafting, a popular procedure developed and perfected by renowned Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon Dr. Richard Ellenbogen. Stem cell researcher and former student of Dr. Ellenbogen's, Dr. Peter Rubin is now leading the latest developments in this most promising field of medicine.
Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) July 8, 2008 -- Dr. Richard Ellenbogen is considered the father of fat grafting, but he never dreamed that a procedure he began pioneering in the late 1970's would inspire a whole new revolution in modern stem cell research. Initially developed as a natural filler for patients' faces, facial fat grafting is a technique commonly used by plastic surgeons to replace lost volume, erase facial lines, and highlight facial features using the patient's own fat, or "adipose" tissue harvested via liposuction.
Since its creation, fat grafting has often been criticized for not lasting because the body absorbs the fat. But, with over 3,500 fat grafting procedures, Dr. Ellenbogen has added many nuances to his technique to make the fat stay put. "Fat grafting is completely technique dependent, doctors not following the proper principles might as well inject salt water," revealed Dr. Ellenbogen. "Stem cells are in the fat and have always been in the fat. The reparative results are seen in weeks and seem to improve with time," said Ellenbogen.
Over the last 25 years Dr. Ellenbogen and other clinicians have performed thousands of facial fat grafting procedures. They noticed several benefits of fat grafting on the immediately surrounding tissue that were not easily explained by volume replacement alone. As the patient heals from fat grafting, doctors noticed that fat placed next to bone seemed to take on the characteristics of bone, and fat placed into the muscle began to take on the characteristics of muscle. "In fact, it was and is consistently observed that the transplanted fat did not feel like isolated collections of fat, but remarkably, rather more like the recipient-site tissue into which it had been transplanted," said Ellenbogen.
Enter Dr. Peter Rubin, a co-founder of the International Federation of Adipose Therapeutics and Science. "The work we're doing today was very much inspired by the successful history of fat grafting by plastic surgeons such as Dr. Ellebogen," said Dr. Rubin. "We are now taking these adipose stem cells and proving that they can learn to be just about any type of tissue in the human body including skin, bone, muscle, nerve, liver and cardiac (heart) muscle."
The research is revealing major implications for the future of reconstructive and plastic surgery as well as the world of medicine at large. "We are looking to repair body parts lost to cancer and even re-generate parts for soldiers and accident survivors. The research is really promising," concluded Dr. Rubin.
Today, it is known that there are approximately one million stem cells in two teaspoons of fat. While there are techniques being employed by surgeons in the U.S. to enrich the stem cells in the fat, other companies are using technology in Europe and Asia to harvest pure concentrations of stem cells directly from the fat. The harvested stem cells are remixed with a smaller portion of fat resulting in a graft that is "supercharged" with stem cells. It is hoped that this supercharged graft will enhance results and broaden the applications.
About Dr. Peter Rubin:
Dr. Rubin is assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is a co-founder of the International Federation of Adipose Therapeutics and Science. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Society, Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery (2000), Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (2004), and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (2005). Dr. Rubin was recently selected to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. Rubin was recently featured in a Live Science article discussing the future of adipose stem cells.
About Dr. Richard Ellenbogen:
Dr. Ellenbogen is founder of the prestigious Beverly Hills Body Plastic Surgery Specialists. As one of the most published and innovative plastic surgeons, many of the techniques Dr. Ellenbogen has helped create are used and referred to by other plastic surgeons. A two-time recipient of the American Medical Association Physicians Recognition Award, Dr. Ellenbogen is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Society, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons.
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