Two distinct camps have debated over the viable use of stem cells in aesthetic medicine (and medicine in general). On one hand, some physicians promote stem cell therapies (such as they are) as the Next Big Thing — there is something attractive and plausible about this viewpoint. On the other side of the fence, some are extremely skeptical and quick to point out how the research surrounding stem cell use is, let’s say, very embryonic in its current form.
I’ve seen no end to marketing hype surrounding any aesthetic procedure that employs the phrase “stem cell” in its title. The documented promise of stem cell use in facelifts, body contouring, etc, appears mostly hopeful at this point.
On the side of the skeptics is Edward Lack, MD, who writes one of my favorite plastic surgery blogs. In a recent post, he opines about one the most criticized application of stem cell in plastic surgery — [removed]Stem Cell Facelift Rears Its Ugly Head[/removed]:
The Stem Cell hype just won’t go away. I don’t know if this is Western culture or United States culture, but the continuous promotion of tenuous concepts for commercial gain is downright boring if not pathetic. While relatively few physicians spend their time evangelizing specious concepts for their own gain, a few individuals tweak the monetary imaginations enough to produce headlines and patient queries.
How many times must we say, “The emperor is wearing no clothes?”
No one questions that stem cells exist. No one questions that they are pleuri-potential cells capable of regenerating virtually every cell in the body. No one questions the usefulness they might have in fighting disease like heart injuries, spinal cord injuries, perhaps even cancer. However, the time is not now. Stem cells are a subject of research and development, and entrepreneurs who claim to make machines that remove stem cells from tissue have no more idea of how to use them in a way that satisfies the rigors of evidence based medicine than I do of applying quantum physics. It may be fun to read. I ain’t going anywhere with it.