The use of stem cells in plastic and reconstructive surgery

Adv Clin Exp Med. Nov-Dec 2014;23(6):1011-7. doi: 10.17219/acem/37360.


As part of their clinical practice, plastic surgeons perform procedures in the fields of skin and adipose tissue grafting, the reconstruction of compound tissue loss and congenital malformations, the treatment of acute and chronic wounds and burns, as well as cosmetic surgery. On account of the great expectations associated with their use in therapy, stem cells (SCs) are increasingly frequently employed in in vitro experiments, animal models and clinical trials. The most commonly utilized SCs for these purposes are adult stem cells (AS), which are present in small amounts in every tissue; among these are two types of cells: bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) and adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs). The aim of this review is to present current findings in experimental research on the use of stem cells in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Many studies have described the progress of trials using ADSCs and BM-MSCs mainly in the treatment of compound tissue loss and chronic wounds. The use of their paracrine, proangiogenic and osteogenic functions is emphasized. However, because of the very high harvesting and culturing expenses and the limited availability of data on their safety for human use, SCs are not a first-choice therapy. Further developments in SC research and gradually decreasing costs mean that along with commercial-scale SC culturing, the use of SCs will become a viable alternative to traditional surgical procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cosmetic Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Regeneration
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Treatment Outcome