Women could soon be receiving breast implants using their own stem cells, if British doctors approve a technique pioneered in Japan.
Implants using a patient's fat are already available, but around half of such procedures are unsuccessful as the tissue loses its blood supply and dies.
However, the new technique allows surgeons to extract stem cells from the patient's fat, which can then be injected into the breast.
While some of the stem cells will form more fat tissue, others will develop into a blood supply for the new tissue, allowing it to become an integral part of the breast.
Kotaro Yoshimura, the Tokyo University medical school surgeon who pioneered the technique, told the Times: "I believe that within five years my procedure will be available as plastic surgery and that it will prove very popular."
He has administered the treatment to 39 women so far, none of whom have experienced any major setbacks, and the procedure has recently received approval from the German medical authorities, meaning that it is legal throughout the EU.
Independent advice on private healthcare