Plastic Surgeon Dr. Dean Kane of Baltimore Answers Question Regarding Papain
Q. Collagen is an element in our bones and cartilages which make them so tough and strong. But collagen can be dissolved by chemical elements called enzymes. One of them is papain. I read research which says that papain injected into rabbits caused loss of chondroitin sulfate from cartilages and caused collapse of ears which drooped like those of a spaniel. So is it possible to dissolve cartilages and bones/make them more flexible to make nonsurgical face correction by injecting papain?
A. This is a most interesting idea. To my knowledge, this technique has not been described in the surgical literature other than superficially for wound debridement; and is painful. Papain, an enzyme from papaya, is useful as a digestive enzyme when taken orally.
Most patients desire an upward redistribution of fat and lifting of skin and soft tissues of the face (trunk, arms and thighs). The idea of using papain injection, even if it were to work, would counter this desire.
You certainly live in a city of medical discovery, pass your idea to the research gurus at Hopkins and the University of Maryland. All the best!
This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.