Stem cells are helping a U.S. teen grow cheekbones. Brad Guilkey’s face was malformed due to a genetic defect, but he has hope due to a new procedure.
A team of doctors in Cincinnati recently broke new ground in reconstructive surgery. They used stem cells to help generate fuller cheekbones, because 14-year-old Brad Guilkey’s were under-developed. The stem cells used were from fat tissue, not the controversial embryonic stem cells.
Brad Guilkey was born with a genetic defect called Treacher Collins Syndrome that left some of the bones in his face underdeveloped.
Doctors had experimented with a stem-cell bone regeneration technique for two years, testing on animals, and Guilkey became their first human patient.
The procedure itself only took one day. Surgeons implanted bone scaffolding onto his face, drilled holes into it and filled the holes with a combination of stem cells from fat tissue, plus growth protein. These techniques prompted bone tissue to grow where his cheekbones should be.
Surgeon Dr. Jesse Taylor, who helped guide this experiment, admitted that the boy’s facial results may still not be in place a few years from now. Currently, though, Dr. Taylor said the chances for this procedure’s long-term success are better than 50 percent.