Recently, there has been a lot of talk about stem cells and their potential to do great things in medicine.
Stem cells are particularly interesting to medical experts because they have this unique chameleon-like characteristic; stem cells are able to morph into many different types of cells, which allows them to possibly build and repair parts of the body internally.
According to The National Institutes of Health resource for stem cell research, these special cells are incredibly important for the creation of life. Embryonic stem cells play a huge part in the development of the fetus, forming the heart, lungs, skin, and other tissues. Somatic, or adult stem cells are able to naturally replace damaged and worn down parts of bone marrow, muscle, and the brain.
Amid a storm of controversy surrounding stem cell research, scientists have been working with these remarkable cells to formulate new treatments for heart disease, diabetes, infertility and even plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery procedures that involve stem cells are sold as advanced alternatives to facelifts, breast augmentation, buttock augmentation, and fillers. Celebrities like Madonna, Courtney Love and Suzanne Somers have all reportedly undergone stem cell facelifts, but of course, not one of them has confirmed this as fact.
Stem cell plastic surgery procedures are similar to the popular body fat transfer process.
In the new stem cell procedure for example, fat cells are removed from the abdomen through liposuction, and are “processed” to increase the presence of stem cells. This “processed” fat is then injected into the breasts, buttocks or face, with the goal of naturally enhancing and rebuilding tissue in those areas of the body without the need for invasive incisions.
Plastic surgery procedures like the stem cell facelift and stem cell breast augmentation are advertised by a number of plastic surgery clinics worldwide, but the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery declared last week that these procedures aren’t quite ready for widespread use.
These two highly respected plastic surgery associations released a joint statement regarding this topic saying, “the marketing and promotion of stem cell procedures in aesthetic surgery is not adequately supported by clinical evidence at this time.”
This statement comes from a study led by Dr. J. Peter Rubin, co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center at the University of Pittsburgh. The study reviewed 9,000 medical reports about stem cells, and researchers found that only 20 of them were studies about cosmetic procedures.
While these peer-reviewed studies revealed no evidence of harmful side effects from stem cell plastic surgery, Dr. Rubin stresses that, “long term studies are needed to explore whether such injections into the breast could lead to tumors.”
Both the ASPS and the ASAPS urge plastic surgeons to put a hold on performing stem cell cosmetic procedures until there is more solid scientific evidence to prove this is a safe and effective technique.
Until then, more traditional fat grafting plastic surgery procedures are highly effective for breast augmentation, facial rejuvenation and buttock augmentation, and do in fact involve naturally occurring stem cells. The only difference is, the stem cells present in the tissue aren’t directly used for treatment.
To be on the safe side, patients and plastic surgeons are encouraged to steer clear of these stem cell cosmetic procedures until they are proven to be as fabulous as they actually appear.
To learn more about breast augmentation, facelifts and more, find a plastic surgeon in your area.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.