Giving new meaning to the phrase recycle, repurpose, reuse, a Seminole County plastic surgeon is opening a fat bank Friday so patients who have fat removed during liposuction can store it for future use.
Cosmetic surgeons who perform fat-transfer procedures typically transfer the patient’s fat immediately after removing it through liposuction, often within the hour. Common sites for the transferred fat are the face and breasts.
Having their fat in the bank would allow patients to draw on it later, when they want to plump up body parts that have succumbed to age, said Jeffrey Hartog, MD, whose new Liquid Gold center is next to his cosmetic-surgery clinic. "I will present it as an option to any patient having liposuction," he says.
The fat bank is a unique concept, say those behind its launch. But opponents of the idea say such centers are rare for good reason.
Daniel Del Vecchio, MD, a plastic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital who has studied fat transfer, is among those concerned.
"Animal data shows that frozen fat doesn’t hold up as well as fresh fat," he said. Plus, he added, storing it poses "a logistical nightmare. There are better solutions."
Although fat-transfer procedures — minus the freezing — have been around for some time, they aren’t too common because of their mixed results. In a 2007 national consensus survey published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the authors wrote, "Unfortunately, the clinical optimism expressed by the proponents of the procedure has not been corroborated by objective scientific assessments."
The difficulty lies in the fact that human fat is harder to control than synthetic fillers, including implants. Once relocated, some of the transferred fat absorbs. Just how much is tough to predict. Physicians take an educated guess, but if they over-fill, they leave a lump; under-fill, and they need to add more.
Without fat in the bank, if a patient needs more fat in the transferred site, then a repeat liposuction procedure, which requires anesthesia, is necessary, said Hartog.
[Source: Orlando Sentinel]