Doctors Grow Facial Bone in Groundbreaking Procedure

In a first-of-its kind procedure, physicians have used stem cells taken from the fat tissue of a 14-year-old boy and combined them with growth protein and donor tissue to grow viable cheek bones in the teen.

The photos at top left and right show 14-year-old Brad Guilkey a week before his surgery and a few months post surgery.

Boning Up with Patient’s Own Stem Cells

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  Watch a video of Dr. Jesse Taylor and his team working with Brad Guilkey.
Watch a video of Dr. Jesse Taylor and his team working with Brad Guilkey.

The photos at top left and right show 14-year-old Brad Guilkey a week before his surgery and a few months post surgery. Side-by-side images of CT scans taken before and after surgery reveal a noted absence of zygomatic (cheek) bone structure on Brad's face (bottom left); and the presence of healthy, dense bone structure a few months following the May 28 procedure (bottom right).

The new procedure dramatically improves the options surgeons have for repairing bone deficiencies caused by traumatic injuries – such as those from car accidents or soldiers wounded in battle – or by disease and genetic conditions, according to Jesse Taylor, MD, a surgeon and researcher in the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. An estimated 7 million people in the United States have defects in bone continuity so severe that repair is difficult.