What we now refer to as aesthetic medicine used to be called plastic surgery back in the day when it was all new. Aesthetic medicine’s basic goals have not changed much over the years. Physicians offer treatments to turn back the effects of time in the skin and scalp.
What has changed are the procedures themselves. Where plastic surgery used to be dominated by facelifts and hair replacement surgeries, physicians now have many more options. These include stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
Needless to say that aesthetic physicians know a lot more than their predecessors of 30 and 40 years ago knew. The additional knowledge helps them to better define what procedures are best for each patient, depending on the patient’s goals. Patients themselves are also more informed as well. That makes it better for everyone involved.
From Facelifts to Fillers
A traditional facelift procedure involves a series of incisions to loosen the skin from the face so that it can be pulled up and made to look tighter. Then the skin is reattached. A facelift can certainly help reduce wrinkles and produce younger looking skin.
Following the introduction of facelifts, the aesthetic medicine industry started looking at fillers. For example, a dermal filler can be injected underneath the skin to restore a fuller, more plump look. Dermal fillers can be used to reduce wrinkles, even out skin tone, and give the face a more youthful appearance.
The one thing that these two procedures have in common is that they are completely artificial. And that has been the downside of aesthetic medicine ever since its earliest days. From facelifts to fillers, older aesthetic medicine procedures attempt to turn back the effects of time in an artificial manner.
New Regenerative Medicine Procedures
Aesthetic medicine in 2019 offers some new procedures that are anything but artificial. These are procedures that rely on the body’s natural ability to heal itself, utilizing autologous stem cells and platelet-rich plasma to stimulate healing. Remember that term ‘autologous’. It is key to understanding how all of this works.
Autologous material in a medical setting is biological material harvested from the person being treated. In an aesthetic procedure involving PRP injections, the patient would provide his or her own blood through a common blood draw. As the patient donates the blood, there is no risk of rejection.
What are these regenerative medicine procedures being used for? Here are a few examples:
- Lines and Wrinkles – Collagen production slows down as we age. This causes the skin to lose its elasticity which, in turn, causes wrinkles. Those wrinkles can be reversed if collagen production is increased. The growth factors in PRP encourage the body to produce more collagen.
- Uneven Skin Tone – Uneven skin tone is another problem that results from the body not producing enough natural materials. Stem cell and PRP injections can be used to address the issue by signaling the body to get back to work.
- Androgenetic Alopecia – Also known as male pattern baldness or age-related baldness, androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss among both men and women. PRP therapy has shown to be an effective strategy for a lot of people looking to regrow their hair.
The Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute is a Salt Lake City, Utah organization that trains doctors how to utilize stem cell in PRP therapies for aesthetic purposes. They say regenerative medicine is catching on among aesthetic physicians, mainly because it gives them more options to offer patients. They have seen first-hand how the face of aesthetic medicine is changing today.