Skin Treatment Enhanced by Addition of Platelet Rich Plasma
By Alex Strauss
Doctors have been harnessing the power of platelet-enriched blood plasma to enhance healing since the 1980’s. Now, Sioux Falls plastic surgeons Richard and Tom Howard, owners of The Body Garage Medical Spa, are putting it to use to enhance skin treatments for anything from wrinkles and stretch marks to scars and burns.
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, was developed in the 1970s and first used as part of an open heart procedure in Italy in 1987. Based on the idea that platelets contain growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing in bones and soft tissues, PRP is produced by drawing blood and spinning it down in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. The result is a substance which contains five times the typical 200,000 per µL baseline blood platelet count.
At the Body Garage Medical Spa, the platelets from about 23 cc of the patient’s own blood are then extracted with a syringe and applied directly to the skin. The aim is to stimulate healing and collagen production as part of a cosmetic procedure called microneedling or collagen induction therapy (CIT).
“Microneedling creates channels into the skin without disrupting the epidermal layer, so people heal quicker,” explains Body Garage medical aesthetician Sara Fiedler, LE, COE. “If someone has acne scarring, it can go down and disrupt the tethering in the scar. As an antiaging treatment, it stimulates the skin underneath to produce new collagen.”
With the addition of autologous PRP, which is applied topically during several sessions, xx says microneedling becomes a super-charged healing treatment for a variety of skin conditions, with minimal down time. Unlike lasers, which can damage natural healing or growth factors and can thin the skin over time, CIT with PRP can safely be repeated. Mild wrinkles may be reduced with just three sessions, but more problematic issues such as serious burns or acne scarring may require more.
In the three months the clinic has been offering the combination, Fielder says the results have been encouraging.
“We are seeing better results from three CIT sessions with PRP than we did with six sessions of microneedling alone,” says Fiedler, who tells clients that it typically takes 21 days after the procedure to begin to see the effects of collagen stimulation. Scars and burns must be fully healed before they can be treated with microneedling.