Use your own blood for natural healing
PLASMA - the fluid part of blood
PLATELET - a minute, colorless, disklike body in mammalian blood
Your blood is a complex organ that consists of many components. Most everybody knows about red blood cells, white blood cells and the plasma that surrounds them. Not so many know about platelets, little cells, even smaller than red blood cells, that circulate in your blood and provide a critical function - they prevent you from bleeding to death.
Under normal circumstances platelets just float around in the blood doing nothing. But whenever a blood vessel anywhere is damaged, like in a cut or bruise, they spring into action. All of a sudden they become "activated". They sprout arms and legs everywhere and become very sticky. They stick to each other; they stick to red cells; they stick to white cells; and they stick to the wall of the blood vessel. Bottom line - a clot forms; it plugs the damaged vessel and prevents further bleeding.
But they don't stop there. A clot is just a temporary fix. So the platelets secrete growth factors. These growth factors (at least six different ones, but we don't even know how many total) attract stem cells to the cut or bruise and instruct them to heal the blood vessel. The stem cells create new cells to repair the blood vessel wall and eventually everything is almost as good as new.
It is these growth factors which interest us most about platelets. The ability to attract stem cells to an area and initiate repairs is a powerful biological tool. In regenerative medicine we've taken this feature of platelets and turned it into a method to accomplish tasks way beyond the repair of blood vessels. You see, the growth factors released by platelets are not blood-vessel specific. They will help repair any tissue into which they are placed. Thus we can use these growth factors in the face, the breasts, back, joints, scars, etc. - anywhere we want to grow healthy new tissue.
And fortunately we have a ready supply of platelet growth factors near at hand - your own blood. It is a relatively easy procedure to take a sample of blood; centrifuge it to layer out the cells and plasma; and draw off only the plasma and platelet layers. This is the basis for platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. PRP is the active agent we use in many of our procedures.
PRP in the News: