Plastic Surgery Face Lift.. Or Stem Cells From Korea?

The same company in Korea that's cloning dogs and cats is now offering anti-aging treatemtns that are being touted as a delaying tactic for plastic surgery and face lifts:

Those who view aging as an ugly inconvenience usually turn to plastic surgery to nip and tuck their troubles away. Little do they know the answer for reversing the aging process might be found in their own stomachs.

Run in conjunction with the Beijing Tian Tan Puhua Hospital, which offers stem cell therapies to last-hope Parkinson’s and spinal cord injury patients, the RNL Puhua Plastic and Cosmetic Medical Center offers stem cell therapy for the face that may reverse the aging process using the patient’s own body matter.

Using a treatment developed by Korean company RNL Bio—the same company that clones dogs and sells them on the international market for upwards of USD$150,000—the Puhua Center offers non-invasive beauty treatment alongside traditional plastic surgery staples like liposuction, face peels and eye tucks.

For a cool ¥28,000, patients can have fat cells removed from their abdomens using a needle and local anesthetic. Two weeks later, after doctors have grown a crop of stem cells from the collected fat cells, patients return to have doctors inject the stem cells into their faces in a series of shots that plump out skin, erase wrinkles and generally take a decade off your appearance, says Ingela Palomäki, a former Beijing Tian Tan Puhua Hospital marketing representative and current director of Fortune Cookie, a stem cell product import/export company. Included in the price is a stem-cell top-up six months later. Patients can also have their stem cells stored at the clinic for ¥1,500 per year. Stem cells have a shelf life of about 15 years. The clinic is currently the only place in the world offering the therapy, Palomäki says.

RNL Bio flew in aging South Korean celebrity Kyung-gyu Lee for a test-run of the treatment at the clinic’s inauguration less than half a year ago.

“Koreans are flocking here by the busloads for the treatment,” Palomäki says. “It’s buying time.”

Because the treatment uses the patient’s own cells, there is no risk of the body rejecting the injections, she points out. The only concern is that the stem cells could copy cancer cells in the body—so cancer patients and survivors will want to take a pass.

While the U.S. and other countries weigh the benefits of stem cell therapies, many patients from abroad are already coming to Beijing for therapies they hope might make them forever young.

This use of technology solutionos around bio-engineering and stem cells could well percipitate a break through. Nanotechnology is an other area that offers the promise of using a nonsurgical medical technology in lieu of traditional plastic surgery.

Thermage and Botox are examples of technology that sprang from other areas of medicine in just this way.