Controlling Bone Growth – New Technologies

bone-growthPlastic surgery can only go so far, because they work primarily with soft tissues. Bone regrowth is not a new technology, but controlling where it grows can be a different issue. It’s a very delicate art and if handled improperly, can lead to disastrous results. Good thing Rice University has created an easier way to produce just the right amount. They have created a gel which makes it much easier. It works by stimulating stem cells to regrow cells, but also dictates where the growth occurs by forming a scaffold that degrades only when the tissue takes it place. So theoretically, surgeons place the gel where they want it and bone will grow and take the place of the gel. This technique will be initially used to repair skull damage, but future applications could include plastic surgery! In the future, researchers envision that the ability to grow bone will allow for better chin, cheekbone, and jaw implants!

Currently if you wanted to have your chin, cheek, or jaw reshaping/augmentation there exists a few methods. Jaw/chin reshaping is becoming more and more popular especially in countries in Eastern Asia. Chin and cheek augmentations are performed by soft tissue transfers such as fat transfer. Chin and cheek reductions are performed by reducing the size of the bone by filing or burring it down.

Other previous surgeries that have been in the news in the past few years regarding altering bone structures have been very interesting. About two years ago there were some reports of leg-lethening surgeries. These surgeries can add about two to three inches to a patient’s height. These surgeries are not necessarily safe and can have various complications. These may include nerve damage, uneven lengthening, hip problems, and paralysis. The procedure is also incredibly painful and doctors don’t prescribe anti-inflammatory painkillers because it may inhibit bone growth.

Another one that occurred about two years ago was a story about a woman who had swollen eyes and heard a clicking sound every time she opened her left eye. When the doctor operated on her, he found bone shards were growing on the inside of her eyelid. This happened because the patient had undergone a facelift that used her own adult stem cells.

If you are considering any of these surgeries or procedures please consult a board certified physician before making any decisions so that you aware of any risks that may be associated.

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