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  • Celution, Breast Augmentation, Fat InjectionsWomen looking for a minimally invasive, virtually scarless breast augmentation may find hope in a new and innovative procedure called Celution that has just gained approval in the European Union. The new plastic surgery technique achieves breast enlargement by injecting a supercharged fat mixture into the patient’s breast. Fat is taken from a woman’s stomach area, buttocks, or thighs using a minor liposuction-like procedure under local anesthetic.

    Celution is not yet available in the United States, but it has been approved by the European Union for 2008. The technique will first focus on breast reconstruction for women who have had breast cancer and have undergone a partial mastectomy (breast removal) or lumpectomy. However, breast augmentation through the Celution techinque may be a possibility in the future.

    Fat taken from the patient is placed in the Celution system, a device which separates out and concentrates stem cells and regenerative cells. About an hour later, a prescribed dose of regenerative cells are injected into the patient’s breast tissue. “It works by ‘supercharging’ the fat cells, which makes them stay where they are injected”, explained Dr. Eric Daniels, senior director of business development for Cytori Therapeutics in San Diego, which developed the Celution technique.

    Following the Celution procedure, breasts may enlarge up to two cup sizes over about six months, while also appearing more natural than with traditional breast augmentation procedures. One day, women seeking to increase their bust may be able to go in and have this procedure done during their lunch break, and of course, the bonus is that fat would also be taken from the stomach or thighs while one’s breasts are enlarged. Who could complain about that?

    The use of fat injections in reconstructive procedures is not a new breakthrough, as it is commonly used in different cosmetic procedures for many years. Dr. Brian Kinney, a plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills, California and clinical assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California, said that, “It’s become common practice for plastic surgeons to use [the patient's own] fat in filling in defects such as around the eyes, in the nasolabial (nose to mouth) folds, and in the body, especially after liposuction that leads to irregular contours.”

    However, breast reconstructions using fat injections have failed in the past because the patient’s body often reabsorbed the fat. With Celution, however, mixing fat-derived stem cells from the Celution system with the patient’s fat has apparently minimized this problem of fat reabsorbing in the body. “The supercharged fat graft survives really well and fills in the volume defect left by partial mastectomy, says Kai Pinkernel, Cytori’s Head of Research & Development.

    Kinney, who is also past president of the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons stated that a procedure like Celution could be of benefit to women wanting a regular breast augmentation.

    It would not be surprising in the future — with refinement in technique — that this could be of benefit to women who need augmentation or reconstruction. But it may be many years, and it’s far too early to know before large, well-controlled case-control clinical trials are done and peer-reviewed by other experts,” says Kinney.

    While Celution and stem-cell fat techniques of the like hold considerable promise for women seeking a minimally invasive breast augmentation that would not require the insertion of implants, the prospect of a one-hour procedure to achieve an aesthetically pleasing result that rivals a traditional breast enlargement surgery seems unlikely. Doctors believe such a procedure will likely need to take longer than one-hour to achieve desirable breast enhancement results. “Just a few years ago, lots of attention focused on the weekend face lift”, Kinney said. “A lunchtime breast augmentation is equally implausible.” Similary, Mac Hedrick, president of Cytori Therapeutics, said “No one is going to leave for lunch, have the procedure and go back to work like it’s no problem.” Hedrick expects the procedure to take two hours under general anesthesia. Additionally, the Celution technique has the limitation of not being able to increase one’s bust by more than two cup sizes.

    Yet even if the procedure would take longer than lunch to perform, many prospective candidates seeking a moderate breast enlargement would likely flock to have a virtually scarless and silicone-free breast augmentation.

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