Stromal Vascular Fraction – Platelet Rich Plasma
United We Heal
In previous blog articles, we have extolled the virtues of Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF), laden stem cells, in the treatment of disease and degenerative conditions. We have made reference to SVF in the past as a multipotent, cellular “soup” which we are able to extract from patient’s own, often unwanted, fat tissue. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), one crucial part of the SVF suspension, may be made more effective when combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which is derived from the patient’s own blood. PRP contributed significantly to the functionality of the stem cells themselves as it may supply nutrients and growth factors, as well as amplifying their regenerative properties. In this way, SVF, PRP, as well as equally beneficial cytokines and other growth factors, found naturally in this “tissue soup” combine to form a therapeutic cocktail that has great promise for the future of regenerative medicine. There is very little research, however, into how these therapies might be used separately, as opposed to part of a unified therapeutic intervention. So, what is the difference between PRP and Stem Cell therapies?
Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a medically concentrated version of a naturally-occurring part of your blood. In recent years, due in part to a greater need within the medical community, many individuals have found that they can make a little money on the side selling their plasma! This need is facilitated by proven research showing the healing potential of PRP. Platelet-rich plasma is a concentrated mix of platelets, suspended in nutrient-laden serum, minus the red blood cells and white blood cells, both of which can cause inflammation in tissues if left with the platelets. So platelets in concentration without the red and white cells of the blood are the key.
When an injury occurs, exposure of platelets to tissue activates them into sticky “brick” that stick together forming a whitish clot to staunch bleeding, then spew cytokines and growth factors to promote healing. So, over the course of the healing process, growth factors and cytokines from the activated platelets coordinate what is known as a “repair response.” In addition, the growth factors include vascular growth factors, which signal the reconstruction of new blood vessels to help increase blood flow to the region to complete healing. PRP also introduces a small number of naturally-derived stem cells, originating from bone marrow, to augment the healing process. Although our bodies are capable of accomplishing all of this on their own, the PRP cocktail is around 3-5 times more concentrated than a normal bloodborne platelet concentration and can facilitate healing at a much faster rate and more efficiently. This concept of increased platelet concentration can also be utilized in the case of traumatic injury or degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and improving skin texture as well as hair growth.
Stem Cell Therapy
While PRP therapy can deliver a small number of stem cells to the affected area as part of the planned, augmented healing process, stem cell therapies are more potent and advanced in terms of healing potential. To use an analogy, consider your body to be a car. Your car runs on gasoline (presumably), or some type of fuel. Additionally, it requires oil/transmission fluid to function properly and not break down. These necessary fluids allow peak functioning and help prevent internal damage. Changing the fluids regularly ensures that you will more than likely get from point A to point B safely and efficiently. This is basically PRP therapy, in that you already have platelets in your blood and PRP is simply a “higher octane” platelet mixture, delivered where it is needed most. On the other hand, all the high-octane fuel and clean oil do little good to a flat tire or broken gasket. In this case, you need replacement parts. At one time in the medical field, this meant a costly and painful surgery. With the advent of Stem Cell Therapy, we have a way for the body to heal itself. In the case of osteoarthritis, stem cells derived from the patient’s own adipose tissue are injected into the arthritic limb or joint and the stem cells almost immediately begin to repair the damaged tissue. To put it plainly, stem cells become tendon, ligament, muscle, blood vessel, and whatever else is needed to rebuild the affected area. Stem cells, like PRP, are able to coordinate the repair response, kick-off the repair sequence and speed up healing, but they can also differentiate to become whatever tissue type is required to complete the healing and repair, something platelets cannot do. So PRP provides cytokines and growth factors to act on the existing tissue, while stem cell deployment provides building bricks and expertise as well.
Better When We’re Together
Both of these therapy modalities have a great beneficial potential to the field of regenerative medicine and offer a better option in terms of outcome and treatment to patients. The cost for Stem Cell treatment is higher- largely because of the cost of equipment and materials as well as longer and more complex process of procurement, but the benefit far outweighs the expenditure. Platelet Rich Plasma can be used to provide a “shot in the arm” and promote faster and more efficient healing; whereas stem cells reverse regenerative conditions previously considered irreversible. When deployed with PRP, however, the benefit of stem cells is increased incalculably. Platelet-rich plasma used in this manner promotes and enhances tissue regeneration. The best part of these revolutionary treatments is that they are non-invasive. In both cases, these FDA guideline-compliant procedures are done on an outpatient basis at our Ocean Springs, MS clinic. This is possible in part due to the simple nature of the cell harvesting procedure, which is similar to basic liposuction, only of the “mini” variety. We take a couple of ounces of the patient’s adipose tissue (fat), under local anesthesia, without the need for general anesthesia or surgery, therefore an overnight hospital stay or a lengthy recovery period is not required. Most of our patients return to their daily activities immediately, and the majority report a much more satisfying quality of life following treatment.
Who We Are
At Gulf Coast Stem Cell Regenerative Center, which is an affiliate partner of the Cell Surgical Network (CSN), we conduct patient-funded research with the intention of treating patients with their own autologous stem cells. We aid in the management of autoimmune, degenerative, inflammatory, and ischemic conditions, and our highly skilled team of providers is committed to the goal of alleviating symptoms, enhancing functionality, and improving overall quality-of-life for our patients. Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center and let us show you what “Excellence with a Human Touch” means.
For more information on the full list of diseases and disorders that we currently address, please call (866) 865-4823 or contact us via our website.