Key Differences Between PRP Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy

As the field of regenerative medicine continues to advance, and we learn more about the innate healing properties of the human body, we have achieved many breakthroughs that were once firmly in the realm of science fiction. Two of the most promising treatments in this area are platelet-rich plasma and stem cells. What are the benefits of these approaches, how do they differ, and can they work for you? Read on to learn answers to these questions and more.

What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Small cell fragments called platelets form in your bone marrow. When you have a wound or injury that bleeds, platelets are responsible for initiating the process of blood coagulation. Platelets also have abundant growth factors. Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, contains three to five times the number of platelets found in regular circulating blood.

The Benefits of PRP Treatments

In the early 1990s, doctors began realizing the benefits of PRP in dental care, wound healing, and skin grafting. Then, about a decade later, the use of PRP advanced into orthopedic and sports medicine, including arthritis remedies, treating joint and tissue damage, and long-term pain management.

Today, PRP treatments have begun making inroads in dermatology and aesthetic medicine. Specifically, combining PRP with microneedling in a treatment nicknamed the “vampire facial” can create a smoother, younger, blemish-free complexion. Similarly, PRP has shown promise as a hair restoration treatment because of its ability to stimulate hair growth and increase hair thickness and overall hair count in many patients.

Whether you are getting a PRP facial, or PRP for hair loss, the process begins with drawing a small blood sample from your arm, then spinning it in a centrifuge to isolate the plasma. Another advantage of PRP in medicine is that there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction since the healing components come directly from your body. 

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells also play a role in the healing process in that they can treat many different types of tissue damage. As a building block, they can convert themselves into various kinds of cells – including bones, heart muscles, nerves, and others – depending on the “instructions” they receive from the body. This versatility has made them a darling of the medical community, especially in procedures that involve healing and repairing injuries to joints or cartilage.

Doctors have successfully used stem cell therapy to treat burns, spinal cord injuries, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. There is also some evidence to suggest stem cells can help with chronic illnesses such as Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy

The concept of using stem cells to treat hair loss in men and women is still relatively new, but one prevailing idea about why it might be effective is that stem cells can have an anti-inflammatory effect. When introduced to the hair follicles, these cells can also increase blood flow, stimulating the follicles’ function. 

Learn More About Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco

While the use of PRP therapy and stem cell therapy is still relatively new, these all-natural treatments have shown tremendous promise for a bright future.

Dr. Seth L. Matarasso is a board-certified surgeon and clinical professor of dermatology offering many of the most cutting-edge therapeutic options available today. Schedule a private consultation to learn whether PRP or stem cell therapy is right for your aesthetic goals.