Lifestyle & Belief

Stem-cell plastic surgery a bony issue for face-lift patient


A cosmetic surgeon and his staff perform surgery on a patient at a private clinic in Jakarta, Indonesia.



Anyone questioning the effectiveness of stem cells should certainly read Scientific American’s story about a woman’s recent facelift operation and its astounding consequences.

Anyone considering plastic surgery must definitely read it to learn more about how even doctors can’t predict outcomes sometimes.

Anyone with a weak stomach should probably skip this story entirely, and instead read about the dog that honked a car horn because it was trapped inside; it’s much easier on the constitution.

It all started when a woman in her 60s, who isn’t identified, underwent a facelift operation using her own stem cells.

Three months later, she asked another doctor for help because every time she opened her right eye, she heard a clicking sound that was followed by blinding pain.

That led Dr. Allan Wu on a 6 ½-hour odyssey of digging bone fragments from the Los Angeles woman’s eyelid and surrounding areas.

The relatively new procedure started when doctors removed fat from the woman’s abdomen to retrieve the stem cells.

Then they injected that fat back into her face in hopes the stem cells would create new skin tissue or repair existing, damaged cells.

They also added dermal filler, a product routinely used to transform stem cells into bone, which is what brought this woman into the clinic for a much-needed follow-up operation.

The procedure costs about $20,000, and is just one example of the growing market for stem cell treatments and products the US Food and Drug Administration scarcely keeps pace with.

“The increasing number of untested and unauthorized stem cell treatments threatens both people who buy them and researchers hoping to conduct clinical trials for promising stem cell medicine,” Scientific American writes.

The woman with the facelift recovered, Wu told the magazine, but will always live with the possibility that remaining stem cells in her face could again form bone fragments – “or other out-of-place tissues.”

Oh, and as for the dog trapped inside a car, when it started honking the horn, police arrived. They forced open the back of a delivery van and found two other dogs and two cats.

The SPCA in London, Ontario, Canada is investigating because the animals were obviously poorly cared for and abandoned.

“We’ve received numerous calls from people asking us to find a hero award for this dog,” SPCA worker Judy Foster told

Now that’s better than a bone fragment in your eye.

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