Stem cell facelift goes awry, woman grows bone in eyes

London, Dec 23 (IANS) A stem cell facelift has gone awry for a Californian woman in her sixties, and there are now bones in her eyes instead.

She paid $20,000 at a Beverly Hills clinic for the procedure. Three months later, she was still in pain and noticed that her right eye was clicking, according to a report. The woman complained of a "clicking sensation" when she tried to open her eye.

When the condition did not improve, she visited another cosmetic surgeon, Allan Wu, and explained she could not open her right eye without considerable pain and that every time she forced it open, she heard a strange "clicking" sound.

Wu, from The Morrow Institute in California, told the magazine that when he first heard the woman's complaint, he wondered if she was imagining things. But after a painstaking six-hour surgery, he dug out small chunks of bone from her eyelid and the surrounding tissue, the Daily Mail reports.

The clicks the woman had heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another. One theory is the stem cells - which can develop into any tissue in the body - could have reacted with a common dermal filler which contains calcium.

Stem cells are the building blocks of tissue growth. They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from and so should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart.

It is claimed the technique helps to rejuvenate the skin because stem cells turn into brand-new tissue. This prompts the release of chemicals that boost ageing cells and encourage nearby cells to grow.

Cosmetic surgeons used liposuction to remove some fat from the woman's abdominal area. They then isolated the stem cells. The stem cells were then injected into her face, around the eye area in particular.

During the procedure, she also had some dermal filler injected. This is routinely used by plastic surgeons to make wrinkles less noticeable. But Wu believes the woman's original surgeons forgot that a key ingredient of such fillers is calcium hydroxylapatite. This is a mineral thought to encourage the stem cells to turn into bone.

Fortunately, he was able to remove the pieces of bone from her eye - but there is no guarantee that more won't grow in the future.

Many similar procedures are available in the US - none of which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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