Cosmetic stem-cell treatment causes woman to grow bone fragments in her eyes

Monday, March 04, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: stem-cell treatment, bone fragments, side effects

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(NaturalNews) It is one of the more popular fads to hit the cosmetic surgery industry in recent years, and it can cost women upwards of $20,000 a pop to get it. But a stem-cell facelift can also cause some very serious unintended health consequences, as one woman learned the hard way recently when she began to spontaneously grow bone fragments in her eyes.

The unnamed woman in her 60s from Los Angeles, California, reportedly decided several years ago to get a stem-cell facelift after hearing about how the procedure could help naturally rejuvenate her face and make her look younger. The process sounded simple enough -- a cosmetic surgeon would harvest stem cells from her own belly fat, and implant them in her face where they would be able to grow into new tissue and help rejuvenate nearby aging cells.

But the procedure went awry when the stem cells unexpectedly developed into bone fragments rather than into new tissue. The woman, unsure of what was happening at the time, called her cosmetic surgeon and explained that she was having trouble opening her right eye without experiencing "considerable pain," and every time she tried to open it, she heard a "strange click," according to Scientific American.

The woman's doctor, Allan Wu, initially did not believe her claims, having later told the media that he thought it was all in the woman's head. But after eventually examining her in person at The Morrow Institute in Rancho Mirage, California, Wu discovered that the woman's complaints were indeed valid. And more than six hours of surgery later, Wu and his colleagues discovered that the woman had embedded bone fragments all around her eyelids as a result of the stem cell injections.

Wu later explained that he believes a dermal filler known as calcium hydroxylapatite was likely responsible for causing the bone material to develop, as this substance had been injected along with the stem cells to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the woman's skin. However, even though the bone fragments have since been removed, lingering stem cells in the woman's face could potentially cause further problems in the future.

"There is no doubt that stem cells have an incredible capacity to act as the body's repair kit," explained Megan Munsie, an associate professor from Stem Cells Australia at the University of Melbourne, to News.com.au about the issue. "But they need to be given the right instructions otherwise, as happened to this woman, they can turn into the wrong type of cells."

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