Eva Campbell-Morales, a 51 year old translator, copywriter and voice talent is one brave lady. When she was in her early 40s, she underwent a “stem cell face lift,” a fairly new procedure at that time. In her own words, she described the results as “phenomenal.”
What is a stem cell and what is the controversy surrounding it?
Stem cells are differentiated from other body cell types by three distinguishing features:
- They are not organ-specific
- They have the capability to multiply by renewing or replicating itself through cell division
- They have the capability to differentiate or become tissues and organ-specific cell types
There are two types of stem cells: the adult stem cells and the embryonic stem cells.
➢ Adult stem cells
Also called somatic stem cells, these are undifferentiated stem cells found in the mature mesoderm germ layer of the body that exists in the different mesoderm organs such as bones, urinary and reproductive system, connective tissues, skin tissues, muscles and other internal organs. Its primary purpose is to repair and renew the cells and tissues in the organs where they are found and can generate fat, cartilage, and bone cells to support blood and connective tissue formation.
➢ Embryonic stem cells
Embryonic stem cells are stem cells from a human embryo that still need to differentiate or grow into all kinds of body parts. The controversy or debate actually centers on this type of stem cell since it involves destroying a human embryo. Those who are against the use of embryonic stem cells for any reason believe that an embryo is the beginning of human life and destroying an embryo is tantamount to destroying life. The other side of the debate maintains that an embryo is not synonymous to life since it is still inside a woman’s womb. They also argue that the ethical issue about the use of embryonic stem cells is not commensurate to the pain and suffering of those who are suffering illnesses and conditions that can otherwise be cured by the embryonic stem cells.
Stem cells for cosmetic surgery
Stem cells used for cosmetic surgery are not embryonic stem cells but autologous mesenchymal adult stem cells or adult stem cells in the patients’ own body. Advances in technology made it possible for adult stem cell rich fats to be used as a natural and safe filler to rejuvenate the body and face. The procedure which Eva Campbell-Morales had is the novel alternative to the conventional face-lift.
Stem cells can also be used to rejuvenate, contour and tauten the buttocks, jowls, hands, cheeks, chin, and calves. These cells are now also used for eyelid repair and to reduce frown and laugh lines as well as scars and cellulite dimples.
Fats are harvested from a specific part of the body where there is a large concentration of fats containing these desired cells. The extracted fats are subjected to a process to isolate the adult stem cells from the other tissues. The concentrated adult stem cells are then injected to that part of the body that needs them.