The Elixir of Youth: Platelet Rich Plasma
Humans keep on discovering, or achieving whatever someone has imagined. Did someone mention “The Elixir of Youth?” The regenerative factors that are stored within our platelets appear to function as the elixir of regeneration and youth.
Platelets are cell fragments that are split off of megakaryocyte cells which reside in our bone marrows. The stored repair and regenerative mediators within the platelets are employed in Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment.
When a capillary is severed, a number of protein molecules that are produced by the liver and the bone marrow, which normally float within the plasma (the liquid acellular portion of the blood), are transformed, and cross-linked to form a sticky lattice that is called the fibrin. In between the strands of fibrin, the pebble-like platelets, which normally float in the blood, become embedded to form a plug, i.e., a blood clot. Invariably, at the site of the laceration of a capillary, repair and regeneration is needed. Platelets contain the molecules that facilitate repair and regeneration.
Scars and acne scars. Two scars or acne scars on a patient can be quite different from each other, and, as expected would respond differently to a particular treatment. PRP alone, and more so in combination with microneedling can result in noticeable improvement in scars and acne scars.
Facial rejuvenation. PRP alone, and more so in combination with microneedling and sugar-based fillers (hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane, or Juvederm) result in marked restoration of skin suppleness and elasticity that can last a very long time, and age with the person. To appreciate the enhancement, often it has to be repeated monthly for three times. This is a link to a study on prp microneedling and hyaluronic acid filler, http://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(17)31769-3/fulltext.
Eyelashes. Application of platelet rich plasma with a brush on the upper eyelid margin can result in longer and thicker eyelashes.
How Much Blood is Drawn for This Procedure?
A single tube of 22 ml is drawn for a scalp treatment. 11 or 22 ml for face treatment, and 22 ml plus another 11 ml for the face, neck, and décolleté areas. Just to give you an idea of the significance of the blood loss, a healthy woman in her twenties loses 50 ml of blood over her monthly period. 500 ml of blood is drawn when a healthy person donates blood.
Is There Any Chance of Contamination?
AN Patel and colleagues studied the effect of pouring PRP on chest wounds after cardiothoracic surgery in 2000 patients over seven year period. Their article was published in the Journal of Cardiothoracic surgery in April of 2016, the the pubmed link is https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=prp+cardiothoracic+infection. The PRP treated group developed much less infections than the control group.A company by the name of Eclipse has made a sterile kit, and accessories that make it possible to perform the procedure sterilely. Dr. Silvers became well familiar with the sterile technique as a fourth year Yeshiva College student when he used to prepare cell cultures in a research laboratory at Columbia Medical school. He applies the sterile technique principles that he learned in the research lab to perform the PRP procedures at his office. Dr. Silvers treats one PRP patient at a time to leave no room for cross injecting patients’ blood product specimens.
Is there any chance of scarring, or worsening a scar? None that has been reported as of 2017. We do not see why it would promote scarring or exacerbate a scar.
How long will it take for a patient to perceive an effect? I depends on the site of injection, the condition of the patient, and what is being treated. The penile PRP treatment induces noticeable improvement days after one treatment, but for most other sites that the body is expected to lay down new collagen fibers and other soft tissue components, it might take three to four sessions, and about three to four months to see a difference.
What percentage of people it doesn’t work on? The current notion among doctors is that it works on almost all patients, but to various degrees. The nuances of of which patient would be the ideal candidate, and the approximate percentage of patients who would respond to a specific PRP preparation device or method is being worked on. Since the 1990’s we have witnessed the development of various PRP methods and evolution of each method or device. Therefore, the data that was obtained on previous methods of PRP preparation may not apply to, for instance, the current Eclipse PRP device kit.
Besides contamination, are there any other adverse effects reported for PRP? As of October of 2017, contamination and infection has not yet been reported for PRP that is prepared through the Eclipse system, or any other. I think that is the case because platelets contain molecules that are anti-microbials, and those molecules increase blood flow to the area. The regrowth and regenerative factors that are within platelets interact with the control mechanisms that are in place already within tissues, and I think that is why there has not been a case of overhealed scar, or overgrowth in any shape or form. I will update this paragraph if I come across any reports of unwanted effect from platelet rich plasma treatment.