Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. It can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery includes craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns. While the goal of reconstructive surgery, is reconstructing a part of the body or improving its functioning, the goal of cosmetic surgery is to improve the appearance of it.
Plastic surgeons have led the charge in adipose tissue research and are pioneers in the field of autologous tissue therapies. The stem cells in fat were first discovered in 1964 by Martin Rodbell, using an enzyme and a centrifuge. Research on adult stem cells took a quantum leap forward in 1998 when a group of research fellows at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that adipose tissue contained a large number of adult stems. In 2001, at the research labs of UCLA is where Patricia Zuk PhD, published a paper in Tissue Engineering discussing their discovery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and other regenerative cells in our fat. With that, a new era in medicine had begun. Since that seminal paper first appeared in the literature, over 11,000 scientific papers on adipose-derived stem cells have been published in the last 30+ years.