For the first time, doctors have used stem cells from liposuctioned fat to fix breast defects in women who have had cancerous lumps removed.
The approach is still experimental, but holds promise for millions of women left with cratered areas and breasts that look very different from each other after cancer surgery. It also might be a way to augment healthy breasts without using artificial implants.
So far, it has only been tested on about two dozen women in a study in Japan. But doctors in the United States say it has great potential.
"This is a pretty exciting topic right now in plastic surgery," said Dr. Karol Gutowski of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There are people all over the country working on this."