At least 24 people in Hawaii have developed acute non-viral hepatitis after using the dietary supplement OxyElite Pro, marketed for use in weight loss and muscle building. Additionally, two patients have received liver transplants, and one patient died, but it is not clear whether they took OxyElite Pro or a different dietary supplement.
In a pilot study of 10 patients just published in The Lancet, Danish researchers showed that the addition of stem cells to a fat graft improved the survival of the fat graft at 4 months, compared to a plain unenhanced fat cell graft. This study is significant, as it represents the first randomized study of its kind for fat grafting.
Here’s what the researchers did: participants had liposuction twice – once to harvest stem cells, and once to harvest fat cells. The stem cells were then grown in the lab, using specialized cell culture methods, and mixed back into one of the two fat cell preparations in large numbers, equal to 12% of the volume grafted. The two fat cell grafts of about 1 ounce each – one with stem cells, one without – were then placed on the back of the patient’s arm. MRI was used to measure the fat cell volume at the time of injection, and 4 months later.
They found that the stem cell enhanced grafts did much better, with 80% retention, versus the plain fat grafts, which only had 16% retention.
Pretty cool – but what does this mean? Despite the encouraging result, this preliminary study needs to be repeated with many more patients, using much larger volumes of fat, before we can decide whether it’s clinically useful. And we need an FDA-approved method to get the huge numbers of stem cells that we would need to make this work in the volumes that we use in daily practice.
For example, if we were going to perform a Brazilian buttock lift, we might typically use 400 cc of fat on each side, or more. The Danish study would suggest we would need 50 cc of concentrated stem cells per side – and without cell culture techniques, this would take the isolation of every single stem cell in 3.5 liters of fat to get this amount. – for each buttock!! That’s neither practical nor safe. So clearly, without some new FDA-approved method, we can’t duplicate the recipe of the Danish study in our daily practice.
I found it interesting that the retention rate was only 16% for the non stem cell group. That’s really low. By contrast, other studies that studied fat grafting to the breast found a 65% retention rate in the breast, as long as the breast was prepared with pre-operative BRAVA expansion – without needing stem cells.
New data suggests that one year after quitting smoking, your risks of a smoking-related surgical complication are the same as a non-smoker. The study, published in JAMA Surgery, looked at over 600,000 adult patients between 2008 and 2009, and assessed the effects of current and past smoking (>1 year prior) on postoperative outcomes.
Today, the FDA announced the approval of the “MemoryShape” breast implant, made by Mentor. This is the teardrop-shaped implant, filled with the latest generation of form-stable silicone gel. It’s certainly a home-run for breast reconstruction patients, and may be useful for some breast augmentation patients as well. Mentor now joins Allergan and Sientra with implants of this type.
Daily use of sunscreen can prevent wrinkles and slow the aging of the skin, according to a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers looked at 900 Australian adults younger than 55 (mean age, 39), and randomized them to four treatments:
In addition, the authors note that small increases in photoaging also correlate with increased risk for skin cancer. They note: “A reduction in the highly prevalent aging changes among middle-aged adults by regular application of sunscreen will therefore be associated with cosmetic benefit … and reduced risk for skin cancer.”
Other HA fillers, when they are placed too close to the surface of the skin, can have an issue called the “Tyndall effect” – which basically looks like a blue-grey colored bleb caused by the superficial placement of the filler. This doesn’t happen with Belotero. So it’s really quite useful in areas where the skin is thin, like near the eyes. Belotero, however, does not come with added lidocaine, which may be a disadvantage for some patients, making the injections a little less comfortable.
The manufacturer, Merz Pharmaceuticals, claims that Belotero lasts longer than the other fillers, up to 12 months, rather than the usual 6 to 8 month duration for Juvederm. I haven’t seen a head-to-head comparison study yet, so will have to wait and see on that claim.