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Regenerating tissue through stem cells

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Stem cells have a unique ability to transform into various types of body cells and to regenerate. They play a pivotal role in the development of various organisms and in repairing and regenerating damaged tissue, even genital tissue. «It used to be that other parts of the body were used to repair tissue which was destroyed by accidents, burns or anything else. Ironically this caused a small discomfort to other parts of the body – explains Doctor Stefania De Fazio, president of the Italian Society of Plastic Reconstructive Regenerative and Aesthetic Surgery (SICPRE) -. Now, however, we’re witnessing a miracle: the autotransplantation of adipose tissue, thus using stem cells»

Regenerating genital tissue usually regards women going through menopause. During this phase, in fact, substantial hormonal changes occur, including a decrease of certain hormones: oestrogen. This decrease is a clear sign of vaginal atrophy. 

«This pathology has many symptoms. Mainly, the structure changes, it’s no longer soft, elastic or moist because it’s lacking oestrogen. Therefore women may feel itchiness, burning and trouble having intimate relations along with a lower libido. Urination changes, as well as the development of cysts. This must all be restabilised and it’s important to do so, so that women today, after turning 50 years old, may have a second youth», explains Dr. De Fazio. Nevertheless, genetic issues or problems tied to a history of cancer within the family can remove the possibility for some women to undergo hormone therapy. 

Adipose tissue for regenerating tissue

With age, a woman’s vulva goes through significant changes and, in order to make it more aesthetically pleasing and functional, a small amount of adipose tissue is removed with tiny needles and is centrifuged. It is a minimally invasive procedure, it leaves few marks and allows for the separation of different adipose tissue components.

Doctor Stefania De Fazio, president of the Italian Society of Plastic Reconstructive Regenerative and Aesthetic Surgery (SICPRE)

«We take the part that is called macro fat, the more consistent tissue that fills. Whereas, on the surface of the skin that loses elasticity within the vulva, we want to regenerate that quality, by using growth factors, more specifically that extremely regenerative part through a component called nano fat – the Doctor continues – There are tools that help us select this type of adipose tissue with excellent and long term results».

Labia majora atrophy can affect young women too, who may present volumetric defects from birth such as big, small, inexistent labia majora or labia minora hypertrophy, so bigger than usual. 

«In order to solve this issue, it’s very useful to preserve, using adipose tissue, so without external help, the volume, protecting the access to the vaginal vestibule and labia minora», explains Dr. De Fazio. 

The challenges and the future scenarios of regenerative surgery

In the field of genital tissue regeneration, one of the main challenges is Lichen Sclerosus. A pathology that atrophies and destroys genital tissue, turning the vulva in an almost burned area. This condition carries a series of problems. With a complete lack of elasticity, fragmentation and bleeding are very common along with heavy pain, difficulty urinating and much more. «Regenerative therapy has completely revolutionised how we treat these pathologies. However, those with the condition often act as if they never had it. It’s important for patients suffering from Lichen Sclerosus that they know about the existence of auxiliary systems, our colleagues, too, should know where to direct patients with this disease», confirms the Doctor.

One issue we would think is far away from our reality, but that actually hits close to home, is that of female genital mutilation.

«Thanks to reconstructive, and regenerative plastic surgery using adipose tissue, stem cells and growth factors, this issue too can be faced with enormous success and with the support of these women», declares Dr. De Fazio.

SICPRE yearly organises summits on female genital mutilation. These are meetings which unite all social aspects with stories from women who had to face such dramatic moments. «The goal is to organise surgical units, like Breast Units which address breast cancer, in the local area. A team of specialists dedicated to regenerative and reconstructive surgery following mutilations», concludes the Doctor.


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Copyright © 2022 Revée News. Periodico di informazione sul mondo Chirurgia e del Benessere | Registrazione Tribunale di Torino n. 21 il 17/10/2023 |
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