This is a technique that has been used now for the past few years to help with wound healing and regeneration of various tissues in the body, including skin and bone. It involves the use of one’s own blood, or more specifically, platelets, to help accelerate the wound healing process.
Platelets are a part of the blood that synthesises growth factor throughout its life span and actively secretes them in response to clotting. This makes logical sense. If you cut yourself, platelets are attracted to the wound, and release growth factors to help it heal.
As cosmetic doctors, we use these platelets to help skin heal after procedures such as laser resurfacing. They also can be used in skin that hasn’t been treated otherwise to rejuvenate the skin.
In order to extract the platelet rich plasma, we take about 20mL of your own blood and use a centrifuge to spin it down. The red blood cells, which are much larger and heavier than the platelets, end up at the bottom of the vial, and the platelet rich plasma at the top. The platelet rich plasma is then extracted.
As stated previously, platelets usually release growth factors in response to clotting. We achieve this in vitro by adding calcium chloride to the platelet rich plasma that we have extracted. This sets off the clotting cascade and induces platelets to release growth factors that help with wound healing. The activated platelet rich plasma is then injected or placed in the treatment area.
This technique has been used to help reduce healing times in surgical wounds such as those from skin grafts or face lifts.