Advances in cosmetic surgery are coming at breakneck speed, and they have been for quite a while now. We only need to look at the growth of minimally-invasive procedures for evidence of that. There were almost 16 million of them performed in the United States in 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That’s a 228 percent increase from 2000.
One of the more interesting segments of that innovation has been the various ways in which our own bodies are being used to enhance existing cosmetic procedures. A prime example is the fat injection, which is used to restore fullness and youthful contours to the face in the wake of aging’s natural hollowing effect.
Fat injections are a bit more extensive than dermal-filler injections, but their results are usually much longer-lasting. Think in terms of several years for the former as opposed to several months for the latter. They’re also a means of resolving two concerns with a single procedure.
Liposuction is used to extract the fat from a “donor site,” usually some place where it’s unwanted, like the abdomen or buttocks. The suctioned fat is then transferred to the face, as a graft. Not all of the fat will survive—it needs to redevelop a blood supply in the new spot—but the fat that does will last forever.
For added benefit, that fat may also contain stem cells that produce growth factors, which will only improve the health of the surrounding tissue.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy for recovery
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a term you may already be familiar with. It entered the mainstream consciousness several years ago when Kobe Bryant flew to Germany to have an ailing knee treated with it. A slew of star athletes have since followed suit.
It’s shown tremendous promise in its capacity to heal, both from injury and from surgery, including cosmetic procedures. A recent analysis said that it “‘jump starts’ the cascade of regenerative effects,” and that it comes with “very little risk” because it’s simply accelerating the natural healing process.
Here’s how it works: Blood is drawn and spun through a process called centrifugation, which concentrates the blood’s platelets. Platelets are cells within the blood that contain growth and healing factors. The concentration is then reintroduced to the drawn blood and injected into the site of the injury or surgery.
PRP therapy for hair loss
PRP therapy is also being used as a minimally-invasive treatment for hair loss.
Hair follicles survive—or die—based on the amount of nutrition they get from the body’s blood supply. So the thinking with the PRP therapy goes, it will decrease inflammation around the follicles, increase circulation to them, and stimulate new growth. That concentration of platelets is also going to attract even more stem cells, which will ensure the hair keeps growing.
PRP therapy has been shown to thicken thinning hair and hair transplants, all without any downtime or side effects.
If you’re looking for a natural way to rejuvenate your appearance or speed up your recovery from a procedure, talk to a plastic surgeon about these groundbreaking options and others on the horizon.