If you've had liposuction or are considering it, you might want to think about what you are going to do with the leftover fat. You could immediately use it for facial rejuvenation, breast enhancement or even butt augmentation, or thanks to recent developments, you could put it in a fat bank for future use. That's right, the fat you don’t want today in say, your thighs, could come in handy five, 10, even 20 years down the road when you are ready for other cosmetic procedures requiring fat.
Cryogenic storage, or fat banking, stops the clock on cell aging, so if the cells are needed twenty years from now, they will still be available for you to use.
"If you have a patient undergoing liposuction, why not save the fat for future use if they are not ready to use it now? Think about it. Your cells are only as young as you are right now. If you can hold on to the cells today, your cells are going to be as young as they ever are going to be going forward," says Dallas plastic surgeon David G. Genecov, MD.
"I find it very useful for patients that want to use the fat for breast augmentation. We can immediately use the fat to fill out the breasts and then store the rest and have the patient come back in three to six months to add more if they find they want more volume."
Or if you don't want to keep the fat for cosmetic reasons, you could even save the fat for the stem cells, says new research out of the University of Oklahoma.
Scientists at the university reported the first successful procedure for growing new blood vessels from adipose, or "fat derived," stem cells. And these newly formed blood vessels could potentially be used in complicated procedures like heart bypass surgery.
But, while the novelty of storing fat for future use sounds like a great idea, not all plastic surgeons are convinced that frozen fat is as effective as fresh fat.
"While I think the idea of freezing fat and storing it for later uses sounds very attractive, I don’t think that at this point there is good scientific evidence suggesting fat that's been frozen, when injected, will work the same way and have the same reabsorption rate as fresh fat," says Salt Lake City, UT, plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, MD.
"I just attended a huge panel in Geneva with excellent presentations on stem cells and fat, and there is still a lot of questions out there and high hopes for being able to use these cells later on, but we are not ready to market this as the solution for all our problems at this point," says Dr. Saltz.
If you are considering storing your fat, it will cost you. There are a few banks and most start pricing between $1,000 to $2,000 with an annual maintenance fee.