Stem cells are cells that resemble embryonic cells, IE they do not have any definitive characteristics in terms of tissue structure but have the ability to transform into the type of cell that is needed.
For example, if trauma occurs in the tissues, the stem cells transform into fibroblasts and secrete collagen. They assist the healing process. They also transform into angiocytes, the cells that make new blood vessels, that bring blood flow into the area of injury.
When transplanted into fatty tissue, they transform into fat cells. They can also form muscle, tendons and cartilage if needed. Platelet rich Plasma (PRP) contains the growth factors that stimulate healing and growth of new cells and collagen production. Stem cells are found in bone marrow and also in fat, where they are referred to as fat derived stem cells (FDSC) Stem cells (and PRP) have found wide applications in treating arthritic joints, tendon and cartilage injuries, scar tissue, radiation injury, fat transfer and facial rejuvenation.
It is used in the following areas:
- To treat radiated tissue, eg following mastectomy
- To fill in defects following lumpectomy or other breast deformities
- To increase the size of the breasts (still under investigation)
- To rejuvenate the face, eg filling in hollow areas and correcting wrinkles "Non surgical facelift"