Platelet-rich plasma therapy for aesthetic medicine is a rapidly growing treatment model now being used to help people undo some of the effects of aging and address male pattern baldness and alopecia. Relying on platelet-rich plasma therapy for aesthetic applications is a natural extension of something doctors have been doing since the 1970s: using platelet-rich plasma to improve wound healing.
Despite its success as a treatment for more than 40 years, platelet-rich plasma therapy is still the subject of much debate in terms of efficacy. Much of that debate centers around two important factors:
- New uses of platelet-rich plasma therapy do not have to be FDA approved as long as doctors are using autologous material
- People respond differently to treatment based on a variety of influences.
These two factors, combined with the reality that platelet-rich plasma therapy for hair loss and facial rejuvenation is relatively new, prevents doctors from making any sort of guarantee to patients. Some patients who come in looking for a miracle may actually respond very well to treatment; others will not.
Factors That Affect Patient Response
It should be noted that platelet-rich plasma therapy for aesthetic applications does produce positive results in most patients. The treatment is also safe; there is very little risk of complications, including patient rejection.
So, what are the factors that affect patient response? The Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) mentions the following six things in their platelet-rich plasma training courses:
- Blood Platelet Counts – Platelet-rich plasma therapy utilizes a centrifuge to concentrate blood platelets from material drawn from the patient. However, the centrifuge can only concentrate what it has to start with. Therefore, patient blood platelet counts do affect the quality of the material.
- Healing Capabilities – Some patients are blessed with bodies that heal more readily and easily. Those that do will see better results from platelet-rich plasma.
- Patient Screening – Doctors should be undertaking patient screening private treatment to ensure that a patient is a good candidate for platelet-rich plasma therapy. Screening involves questions about current medical conditions, any prescription drugs being used, etc.
- Conditions Being Treated – Obviously, platelet-rich plasma therapy works better for some conditions than others. Doctors pay attention to the conditions being treated and the severity of those conditions when telling patients what they can expect from treatment.
- Doctor Recommendations – Doctors who offer platelet-rich plasma therapy give patients a list of recommendations for before and after surgery. Following those recommendations greatly improves the efficacy of the treatment. Failing to follow them limits therapy efficacy.
- Doctor Training – Last on the list is doctor training. Just like not all platelet-rich plasma treatments are identical, all doctor training is not the same. The ARMI encourages doctors to choose reliable institutions with a proven track record for their training.
While the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma therapy may differ from one patient to the next, the safety of the procedure is not in question. Doctors use autologous material that is clearly defined by the FDA for such purposes, material that is taken directly from the patient and carefully processed according to strict guidelines.
How the Process Works
Platelet-rich plasma therapy starts with a consultation between patient and physician. On the day of scheduled treatment, the patient visits an outpatient clinic where a blood draw takes place. The resulting blood is processed in a centrifuge to isolate platelets, combined with a few other materials, and injected at the treatment site.
Both doctors and their patients are discovering that platelet-rich plasma therapy is a very good alternative to other aesthetic medicine procedures. It is safe, easy to do, and effective.