Published December 20, 2012
A Los Angeles woman went to the doctor, complaining she could not open her right eye – and every time she tried, she would hear a strange sound, Scientific American reported.
At first, the woman’s doctor – Dr. Allan Wu, a cosmetic surgeon – thought she was imagining things.
But what he found was unbelievable.
Wu realized the woman did indeed have a swollen eyelid, which drooped shut.
After more than six hours of surgery, Wu and his colleagues dug out pieces of bone fragments, which had been growing in the flesh around the woman’s eye.
The strange sound the woman heard when she tried to open her eye? Bones grinding against bones.
The woman, whose name is being protected due to privacy reasons, had a new cosmetic procedure (with a different doctor) three months prior. The procedure was a stem-cell face-lift, where doctors took adult stem cells from her stomach fat and after isolating them and injecting them the filler calcium hydroxylapatite, shot them around her eyes.
The woman paid more than $20,000 to have the other doctors “extract mesenchymal stem cells,” from her body, which can ultimately turn into bone, cartilage or even fat.
Wu said the calcium hydroxylapatite combined with the stem cells, turned into bone, which the woman's initial doctors must not have known.
Wu said the woman is now doing much better, but it is still possible that living stem cells remain in her face – and could turn into bone or another abnormal body part at a different time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved cosmetic procedures involving stem cells.