By  Lisette Hilton/Cosmetic Surgery Times

Stem cell therapy advancements continues to be an issue of great interest among the cosmetic surgery field, but the lack of scientific evidence leaves many surgeons concerned, according to experts speaking at the Aesthetic Meeting 2011 in Boston.

Stem cell facelifts and biofilms were among the topics that a panel of plastic surgeons discussed during the Global Hot Topics forum at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s (ASAPS) annual meeting, aimed at vetting new and emerging technologies in plastic surgery, according to moderator William P. Adams Jr., MD, associate clinical professor, plastic surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

“Often, new devices, techniques or technologies are released and marketed … way ahead of the science. That’s what Hot Topics is really about: basically, to sort out what’s real science versus hype and marketing,” Adams said.

The use of stem cells in plastic surgery is a classic example of technology that has no currently proven scientific foundation, according to Adams.

Peter B. Fodor, MD, FACS, who presented on stem cells, said the miraculous results from stem cell therapy in any specialty are, at this point, isolated and anecdotal cases.

“If one were to Google ‘stem cell facelifts,’ for example, some 200,000 or so results come up. But, do a literature review of bona fide and peer-reviewed journal articles on the topic and only about 20 relevant articles on stem cell supplemented fat grafting and almost no articles on stem cell facelifts are found.

“So, there is a major disconnect, here, between reality and hype,” said Fodor, past president of ASAPS and associate clinical professor of plastic surgery at University of California, Los Angeles.

A history of stem cell research helps to put reality into perspective, according to Fodor, who was part of the stem cell research at UCLA as early as 2002. He notes that it is important to realize that there are stark differences between embryonic stem cells, usually collected from umbilical cord blood, and stem cells harvested from adult subjects.

Basically, allogenic embryonic stem cells are associated with rejection issues, as well as ethical, political and religious concerns, he said.

“The same concerns do not apply to … stem cells procured from adults and used autologously, for therapies in the same person. In either case, however, there are serious concerns and questions that still remain about the use of stem cells in plastic surgery and other specialties,” Fodor said.


[Source: Cosmetic Surgery Times/Modern Medicine]