SUZANNE SOMERS AND THE FUTURE OF BREAST RECONSTRUCTION

Friday, October 11th, 2013

–Suzanne Somers is famous for her alternative approach to health. So when she lost most of one breast to cancer 10 years ago, she wasn’t about to settle for just any old implant. Here, the story of how she waited for _ and got _ the breast she’d always wanted.” Allison Takeda

suzanne somers

The Birth of Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer for Breast Reconstruction

A few years later, something did come along. In 2003, Kotaro Yoshimura, MD, a professor and surgeon at the University of Tokyo in Japan, began testing an innovative procedure he called cell-assisted lipotransfer, or CAL, in which autologous adipose-derived stem cells (those extracted from a person’s own fat) are injected along with other fat cells to plump up or replace tissue, as in the breast. To help remedy some of these issues, Dr. Yoshimura came up with the idea to enrich the injected fat with a higher concentration of stem cells. Stem cells are thought to help preserve and even regenerate fat cells by stimulating growth of blood vessels.

Adipose tissue, or body fat, already contains a certain number of stem cells _ about one for every four adipocyte fat cells _ but Yoshimura and his colleagues believed that increasing the concentration could enhance survival rates of the tissue and reduce post-operative atrophy. To do this, they used liposuction to remove fat from another part of the patient’s body (for example, her stomach, hip, or thigh), set aside a portion of it to be reinjected, and then isolated the stem cells from the remaining tissue to be combined with the reserved fat. This stem cell-rich mixture was then used as a kind of natural cosmetic filler. Pictured below is Dr. Yoshimura and Dr. Lewis Obi in Boston early 2011.

dr obi with dr yoshimura

Prior to meeting Dr. Yoshimura, Dr. Obi had met Dr. Hi Young Lee of South Korea which led to the installation of the first FDA approved Lipokit/Adivive system at the Obi Plastic Surgery Clinic in January of 2011.

stem cells

After more than one hundred cases, Dr. Obi then became a member of the California Stem Cell Treatment Center is now a participating member of Cell Surgical Network (CSN) Investigational Review Board. Founding members Dr. Berman and Dr. Lander established a protocol to study the efficacy and potential adverse effects of adipose (adult fat) derived stem cells.

cell surgical network

The Cell Assisted Lipotransfer (CAL) that was used by Dr. Aronowitz and Dr. Yoshimura to reconstruct Suzanne Somers breast last year is similar to what Dr. Lewis Obi has been performing.

cell-assisted lipotransfer cell-assisted lipotransfer

Five years ago