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Most Cosmetic Procedures Based on Stem Cells Are Bogus, Experts Say
Date:8/4/2014

MONDAY, Aug. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Could stem cell injections help rejuvenate your face or body? Probably not, plastic surgery experts say, but ads for these types of bogus procedures abound on the Internet.

"Stem cells offer tremendous potential, but the marketplace is saturated with unsubstantiated and sometimes fraudulent claims that may place patients at risk," a team led by Dr. Michael Longaker, of Stanford University Medical Center, wrote in a review published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The experts say consumers need to be wary of advertisements promoting the benefits of "minimally invasive, stem cell-based rejuvenation procedures." Claims for stem cell procedures for facelifts, breast augmentation and vaginal rejuvenation are not only unsubstantiated, but also risky, Longaker's team said.

They note that, to date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one cosmetic stem cell procedure designed to treat fine facial wrinkles. And since that single procedure was approved, the product involved has been monitored extensively.

Overall, cosmetic stem cell procedures have not undergone significant scientific scrutiny, the Stanford team said. The risks associated with stem cell and tissue processing have not been closely examined. The effects of aging on stem cells are also not well established, the researchers explained.

To investigate concerning claims being made about cosmetic stem cell procedures, the researchers performed a basic Internet search. They found the most common result was "stem cell facelifts." Most of the procedures used stem cells isolated from fat but did not provide details on the quality of the stem cells.

More than 100 clinical trials are currently evaluating stem cells derived from fat, but few are focusing on cosmetic treatments. The researchers cautioned that the products used in these cosmetic procedures likely involves additional
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