By Trina Robinson, WTVJ
MIAMI - It's fairly widely known that stem cells can mean life-saving treatments for deadly diseases. Now they are being used in the fight against wrinkles.
Donna Pritchit recently had a "stem cell" makeover. The 64-year-old headed into the operating room wanting to turn back the hands of time without it being totally obvious.
"I don't want someone to stop and go by and say ‘Oh, she had a facelift.' I want to have someone say ‘Donna went on vacation she must be having a great life,'" she said before the $5,000 procedure began.
Dr. Sharon McQuillan at the Ageless Institute in Aventura, Florida marked the areas where she would take fat out of Pritchit's belly - and place it back into her face.
The retired teacher also hoped it would be her last step in getting rid of embarrassing acne scars. "I never wanted to go out in daylight and have anyone see me," she said.
The outpatient procedure began with traditional liposuction, and then McQuillan and her team processed that fat and concentrated the stem cells so they could be injected into Pritchit's wrinkles and in places where she has lost fullness.
"Well, stem cells in general are the cells in your body that regenerate tissue and heal tissue, and they make the skin look beautiful and younger," McQuillan explained. "And they also the fat to remain alive so that the volume that we create stays, which has been a problem with fat transfer in the past."
While there aren't many long-term studies on this procedure, McQuillan says the results are permanent.
Four weeks later, Pritchit celebrated her results. "A waist, a waist that I haven't head in years! I didn't even know this was possible!" she exclaimed.
A follow-up checkup showed Pritchit is down two sizes and has lost several inches.
"I saw someone this past Sunday and the person said, ‘Oh my God, you look beautiful,'" she said. "And in my entire life, no one has ever called me beautiful."