Fat Chance: Stem Cells Offer A Potential New Fix For Facial & Skull Reconstruction

Hard tissue defects of the mouth, jaw, face and skull (such as a cleft lip/palate or injuries caused by trauma such as a car accident or surgery to remove a tumor) are most often treated by harvesting a patient’s own bone from another part of their body for reconstruction, requiring painful surgery and opening the door to potential infection. Until now.

A study published in STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE (SCTM), tracked thirteen patients in Finland who were treated with stems cells acquired from each patient’s own abdominal fat. The stem cells were seeded on a type of bone “scaffolding” that provides a blueprint of the desired bone shape and supports the development of bone from the stem cells. The doctors implanted the combination into the site of the defect to help repair each patient’s nasal, skull, or jawbone issues.

Of the thirteen patients who went through the procedure, ten were successfully treated, demonstrating the potential for this as a safe and reliable type of bone replacement procedure and avoiding bone harvesting in the future.


Gina Satta

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Gina Satta is a writer, namer and new mom living in San Francisco. When she isn’t brainstorming brilliant copy, she is either looking for parking, making up new versions of classic nursery rhymes, or eating chocolate. Gina is a paid consultant to CBR.

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