A woman in Los Angeles opted to undergo an untested cosmetic surgery procedure which was aimed at getting her skin to look younger. The procedure involved the use of her own adult stem cells
Some days after the procedure, according to Scientific American
, the woman developed fragments of bone, which became embedded around her right eye. The woman realized something was amiss when her face started making odd clicking noises and began suffering intense pain.
For the procedure, the Scientist
summarizes, surgeons isolated mesenchymal stem cells from her abdominal fat—cells that can become bone, cartilage, and fat, among other types of tissue—before injecting them into the skin around her eyes
The incident took place in 2009 in Beverley Hills, and the surgery cost the woman $20,000. The case has only now been reported and discussed. The incident highlights the dangers of using untested stem cell-based cosmetic procedures. Cosmetics, unlike medicines, do not require pre-market approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Paul Knoepfler, a cell biologist at the University of California, blogged
on this horrific incident: "Many of us are super excited about stem cells, but at same time we have to be really careful. These aren't your typical drugs. You can stop taking a pill and the chemicals go away. But if you get stem cells, most likely you will have some of those cells or their effects for the rest of your life. And we simply don't know everything they are going to do."