grown their own breast implants through pioneering stem cell treatment, it
|The delectable Miss Anderson|
is famous for her synthetic look
Scientists harvested the stem cells from the women's own fat and encouraged
them to form breast tissue.
They say the result gives a more natural look than many of the synthetic
implants used by showbusiness stars like Pamela Anderson.
The Japanese teams have carried out trials on dozens of women and say they
have had no problems.
They say the treatment will be routinely available from plastic surgeons
within five years.
British surgeons said yesterday they were convinced by the technique and
found it "appealing".
Stem cells can turn into different tissues in the body and this technique
involves taking them from fat.
Dr Kotaro Yoshimura of the University of Tokyo and his team then mix these
with general fat cells and inject them back into patients' breasts.
The hope is the stem cells will lead to the formation of new fat cells and
coax blood vessels to grow into new breast tissue and nurture it.
The technique was first used in 2004 and since another 38 women have been
treated without any major side effects.
The long-term effectiveness has not yet been demonstrated fully, however, and
further tests are needed.
To date the technique can boost breast size by only half as much as existing
synthetic implants, and slender patients may not have enough fat to spare.
However Dr Yoshimura believes the effect is more natural-looking and should
avoid any problems such as the leaking which occurred with older silicone
Doctors can already use fat to create "natural implants", but they can shrink
over time because of a lack of blood supply.
The new technique aims to overcome this problem.
Dr Yoshimura said: "I believe that within five years my procedure will be
available as plastic surgery and that it will prove very popular."
Similar work is being carried out in the U.S. Dr Jeremy Mao told the American
Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington in 2005 that
using stem cells could eliminate the need for extra surgery and produce
long-lasting and more shapely implants.
In his tests, scientists at the University of Illinois turned stem cells into
fatproducing, or adipose, cells which were put into plastic moulds to create
different shapes and sizes of implants.
These were grown in the laboratory and then placed under the skin of
They were removed four weeks later and found to be still the same shape and
Some British plastic surgeons have expressed an interest in using the new
Venkat Ramakrishnan, a specialist in plastic and reconstructive surgery at
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust said: "I'm newly convinced.
"A lot more people have to use it and prove it, but it does seem to have
something to it."
Eva Weller-Mithoff, a consultant at Canniesburn Hospital in Glasgow, said the
technique could be particularly beneficial to cancer patients who have a
"The most distressing effect of radiotherapy is that the blood vessels
shrivel up," she said. "Stem cells can differentiate into new blood vessels
which could mean that more fat cells will survive."