Nightmare Fuel: Woman Who Had Cosmetic Stem Cell Treatment Grew Bones In Her Eye

12.20.12 5 years ago 16 Comments

Here’s the least upsetting picture we could use for this. For the most upsetting one, scroll down.

A woman in her late sixties from Los Angeles was having sharp pains — accompanied by a creepy clicking noise — whenever she tried to open her right eye. The difficulty started three months earlier, when she underwent a $20,000+ cosmetic procedure at a Beverly Hills clinic. The procedure was a face-lift combined with injections of her own stem cells. Three months later, she’s in pain and her eye’s clicking at her.

After examining her in person at The Morrow Institute in Rancho Mirage, Calif., [an unrelated surgeon, Allan Wu] could see that something was wrong: Her eyelid drooped stubbornly, and the area around her eye was somewhat swollen. Six and a half hours of surgery later, he and his colleagues had dug out small chunks of bone from the woman’s eyelid and tissue surrounding her eye, which was scratched but largely intact. The clicks she heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another. [SciAm]

This bears repeating: “The clicks she heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another.” Bone fragments. In her eye. Three months after an outpatient, unregulated cosmetic procedure.

I’m done. Done with everything. I’m going to go hide under my covers and wait for the apocalypse.

Here’s how the procedure went wrong. The stem cells injected into her face (particularly around her eyes) were her own mesenchymal stem cells, which can turn into many kinds of cells, including bone. The unnamed plastic surgeon who did the original procedure also injected a common dermal filler. That dermal filler contained calcium hydroxylapatite as its main ingredient. If the staff of that clinic in Beverly Hills understood the stem cells they’re working with, they would know calcium hydroxylapatite is used in the lab to guide mesenchymal stem cells to turn into bone.

You know who at that clinic should get in trouble for this incompetence?


[Image credits: Pauline Darley, Matt, and Nerdcore]

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