Frankenface

Maybe Don’t Pay a Doctor to Inject Stem Cells Into Your Face

BONES IN YOUR EYELIDS.
"Wat."

Wat.

Behold, the greatest Real Housewives of Los Angeles episode that never existed, courtesy of Scientific American: A woman in her sixties went to her doctor, complaining of pain in her right eye. When she opened it, “she heard a strange click—a sharp sound, like a tiny castanet snapping shut.” Can’t you just hear the Watch What Happens Live rehash with Andy Cohen already?

Doctors took a look at the swelling, and despite their skepticism they found something, all right:

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.

So less Bravo, more Guillermo del Toro.

But how did this woman end up with bones in her eyelids? Cosmetic surgery, naturally. She’d recently shelled out more than $20,000 for a face-lift involving injections of her own adult stem sells, isolated from her abdominal fat. Unfortunately, the doctors also used dermal filler, which has a compound that tends to turn stem cells into–you guessed it, Sherlock!–bone.

Before you chalk this up to experimental surgery, this wasn’t some crackpot doing butt injections in his garage, either. Scientific American says there are at the least dozens of clinics offering similar procedures, which are relatively new and so come with a certain amount of uncertainty. There’s also a vast number of creams, lotions and such that promise rejuvenation and renewal via nature’s own fountain of youth, the miraculous human stem cell. But of course, cosmetics aren’t subject to FDA approval, and so the proliferation offers cause for concern. As one doctor told Scientific American:

“These aren’t your typical drugs. You can stop taking a pill and the chemicals go away. But if you get stem cells, most likely you will have some of those cells or their effects for the rest of your life. And we simply don’t know everything they are going to do.”

The gift that keeps on giving.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com