The Main Stream

Jun 14, 2012 7:54 PM

Make Me Over: 'Fat Banking' preserves your own fat for later use

TUCSON - In today's "Make Me Over" segment we're talking about "fat banking, a way to "save" fat taken from one area of the body and use it in another area, instead of using a synthetic filler.

Dr. Gwen Maxwell, our plastic surgery contributor, stopped by to discuss this method.

Here is information from Dr. Maxwell's discussion with Allison:

A new kind of service called ‘Fat Banking' is allowing surgeons to harvest adult adipose tissue and stem cells, and then save this tissue for their patients. Normally, after liposuction, the fat that is removed from the body is discarded as medical waste. This valuable tissue has been called ‘liquid gold' by some for its ability to naturally restore lost volume in the face, hands, and body and its high stem cell content. Now, with cryopreservation tissue storage options being more accessible to the general public, patients have the option to have their fat preserved for future usage in aesthetic or medical procedures.

Fat Banking:
• Cryopreservation of human cells and tissues has been in use for years.
• There are several companies in the market that offer fat and stem cell banking. Recently a company based here in Tucson, AdiCyte, headed by Dr. David Harris, Professor of Immunology at the University of Arizona, has begun to offer these services.
• The fat itself needs to be collected by a qualified surgeon.
• The fat is collected during a liposuction procedure and cryogenically (by freezing) stored at a tissue bank for future usage.
• Laser liposuction patients cannot have their fat saved.
• The fat may be retrieved at a later date to be used instead of synthetic filler in the face, lips, hands, and breasts.
• Fat is rich in regenerative stem cells, which potentially may be used in future medical procedures.
• In the future, the fat may be used for medical therapy as the science of stem cell therapy makes new discoveries.

Procedures Where Stored Fat May be Used:
• Facial Rejuvenation
• Breast Augmentation with or without implants
• Buttock Augmentation
• Breast Reconstruction
• Trauma or wound care
• Stem Cell Therapy

The adipose tissue (fat) collection process:
During a procedure such as liposuction, abdominoplasty, or breast reduction, the surgeon uses a sterile collection kit, which is provided by the tissue storage bank. The fat is sent to the tissue bank where it is purified, processed, and cryogenically stored for future usage. When needed, the tissue bank will provide the patients their adipose cells within a few days. Typically, about 90-92% of the fat is viable for future usage.

Price Range of Fat Storage: $900 - $1000 for initial collection, approximately $100 per year storage fee, and a fee for retrieval from the fat bank which varies from company to company.

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