What Role Does Stem Cell Counts Have In The Methods Of Breast Reconstruction?

Q: Does fat from flaps (such as TUG, DIEP for breast reconstruction) have as high of a concentrated stem cell as fat from liposuction (fat grafting alone to rebuild the breast ie with or without BRAVA)?

A: That is a most interesting question. The simple answer is that no one knows that with any certainty. At this point, it is not even clear whether stem cell concentrations differ in various fat compartments throughout the body although it seems logical that it should. But the decision to use flaps that contain fat vs. injectable fat grafting has so many other considerations that rank much higher on the decision tree than their stem cell count. Thus making that issue an academic one but clinically irrelevant. Injectable fat grafting has a very limited role in breast reconstruction, relegated to being used in primary reconstruction of lumpectomy defects and more commonly used as a secondary contouring method to breast reconstructions done by flap method first.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana