The growing media attention paid to the married between cosmetic surgery and stem cells has been very upbeat and almost blissfully "forward thinking." PSP is no stranger to this interpretation of where we are headed — adding stem cells into the aesthetic medicine mix sounds very promising. Therefore, it satisfies my journalistic senses when a physician offers a common-sense view of where we stand with this "marriage." From WFAA-TV: Dallas doctor uses stem cell injections in cosmetic surgery:
Dr. Jeffrey Caruth, an OBGYN practicing cosmetic surgery, started the procedure by removing fat from several parts of her body to create volume in her face and chest.
Under local anesthetic, she was awake during the entire surgery. Her hands were strapped down to keep her from touching the sterile area. It was a procedure Jones called painless.
“You know when you're hungry and your tummy is grumbling before it's time to eat, it kind of felt like that,” she said.
Caruth said stem cells help solve a problem that has plagued prior procedures.
“The problem has been with traditional fat grafting that you put a volume of fat into the face, the buttocks and then in a month or two or three there is significant volume loss due to death of the fat cells you put in,” he said.
To help the fat survive, it was injected with Jones' stem cells for regenerative purposes. Caruth used an enzyme to pull the stem cells out of her fat. A machine then created a concentrated solution of stem cells, which are injected into a fresh batch of fat for double the power.
“You're going to get twice the graft survival versus other methods,” Caruth said.
Jumping down the page, I appreciate the comments from Jeffrey Kenkel, MD, a well-known aesthetic practitioner who puts the whole stem cell slash plastic surgery debate into perspective:
…While he has great hope for stem cells, he said they aren't predictable enough yet to guarantee results.
“There is a tremendous amount of excitement about stem cells," he said. "We just don't have a lot of information about them, about how they work and how we control them to do what we want them to do."
Kenkel agrees stem cells will change medicine in the near future, but said more scientific and objective research is needed.
“Are the stem cells going to stick around and actually control how that person heals and what kind of results they have?" he said. "We just don’t' have the answer to those questions yet."