Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found that women may be able to grow their own “breast implants” through stem-cell treatment.

The effect is more natural-looking and should avoid any problems such as leaking, which occured with older silicone implants, according to Kotaro Yoshimura, MD, of the university.

Scientists harvest the stem cells from the women’s own fat and “encourage” them to form breast tissue. Stem cells can turn into different tissues in the body and this technique involves taking them from fat. Yoshimura and his team then mix these with general fat cells and inject them back into patients’ breasts.

Researchers hope that stem cells will lead to the formation of new fat cells and coax blood vessels to grow into new breast tissue and nurture it.

The long-term effects have not been demonstrated fully, and further tests are needed.

“I believe that within 5 years my procedure will be as available as plastic surgery and that it will prove very popular,” says Yoshimura.

[www.dailymail.co.uk, February 12, 2007]