Technological advances in medicine has gained momentum in all fields, with regenerative medicine and anti-aging medicine in the lead. Tremendous advances have been made already and some of the predictions for the future are almost mindboggling. Increased expected lifespans don't even seem to be a debating point anymore - it is generally accepted that it is coming.
More important than absolute lifespan though, is disease and disability free life. Currently this is where most successes have recently been achieved. Remember, many of the 'normal' results of aging and wear and tear on our bodies will eventually become optional, at least till much later than before. It is important though that we try to maintain ourselves in as good a condition as possible until many of these technologies become freely available. Good diet, exercise, not smoking, maintaining normal weight and reducing stress are the mainstays of a healthy life and have always been. Now however, medical innovations and technologies are beginning to become available to help as well. Someday soon we will realize the dream of individualized medicine, with stem cells rebuilding damaged tissue and healing injuries. There is no doubt that that is coming; but we are not there yet and it may not happen in the lifetime of either myself or my patients. My group at Foothills hospital was part of the first stem cell research for the treatment of urinary incontinence, in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh. Unfortunately our results were not as successful as we had hoped, and there is currently no timeline to stem cell nirvana in our field.
Disappointing as that was, we do now have more than just cutting and stitching, thank goodness. We have already the beginnings of autonomous healing, by utilizing technologies like laser and plasma products like PRP to stimulate 'self-healing', albeit not to the level of the promised 'stem cell miracles' we've all heard about. Unfortunately none of these new technologies are funded through Medicare anywhere in Canada and as a result there are very few practitioners willing and brave enough to invest the capital required to make these available to patients who now have to pay personally. In Canada specifically, the expectation has traditionally not involved any requirement to pay out of pocket, other than for completely 'cosmetic' treatments. Now however, 'cosmetic' and 'medical' have increasingly begin to overlap - including - or perhaps even especially - in urogynecology, which is my specialty.
With this in mind, other than the laser procedures I am offering, I am now excited to offer Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to complement and augment vaginal and cosmetic laser treatments. PRP is used widely in sports medicine, rehabilitation medicine and increasingly in cosmetic procedures to augment the response obtainable with standard therapies and to boost healing and rejuvenation. The use of PRP in the vagina is relatively new, but has been found to significantly complement and improve the outcomes of other treatment modalities, especially laser. Please also go to the 'Cosmetic Laser Services' tab under the 'Services' menu for more detail and information regarding the new 'state of the art' ND Yag laser that I introduced to my practice to dramatically expand the scope and results of the cosmetic laser services we offer.
As for PRP; basically what happens is that we will be drawing a small amount of blood from you, prepare it to separate the cells from the plasma and then to activate the incredible amount of growth factors and natural healing factors that are present in your plasma. Some of these essential growth factors in the activated plasma are FGF, PDGF, TGF-ß, EGF, VEGF, IGF that are involved in stem cell migration, differentiation and proliferation. The stimulation of fibroblasts and endothelial cells through these growth factors, in association with laser activation, induces new extracellular matrix deposition and neo-vascularization. Basically what this means is that the growth factors mentioned, as well as other nutrients in the plasma ‘boost’ the repair and rejuvenation process set in motion by the laser energy’s effects on the tissue, whether that be vaginal epithelium, or skin. For this reason we can use PRP for both vaginal improvement (usually with or associated with Erbium laser treatments for vaginal dryness or thinning, urinary leakage, pain issues or for some cases of vaginal relaxation or prolapse – but also for cosmetic skin treatments, for instance scars, wrinkles, loose skin, etc.).
This solution will then be directly injected with a very fine needle into the area that we are targeting with the laser, whether the surface of the vagina, or the epidermis (the most superficial layer) of your skin in case of cosmetic procedures. For this we have a professional mesotherapy injector device, which is calibrated to inject the PRP to the exact depth needed, but which is almost completely pain-free and safe.
The growth factors and nutrients then boost the healing and regenerative processes stimulated by the laser energy.
The important thing is that except for the little discomfort when the blood is drawn, the process is safe and extremely well tolerated. We also use topical anesthetic ointment to reduce unpleasant sensation even more. However in case of the vaginal treatment, you could expect a little bit of bleeding afterwards, which might require a light pad. For skin PRP the mesotherapy injector is so precise that no, to only a few minor spots of a little bit of bleeding is possible.
Furthermore, there is some evidence that vaginal PRP injections in certain, specifically around the clitoris, and maybe in the anterior vaginal wall area (the area of the elusive 'G-spot'), increase sexual satisfaction and function. The reasons probably has to do with better arousal, better lubrication, better nerve function leading to heightened sensitivity of the clitoris and surrounding tissue and all of this leading to an overall more satisfying sexual experience.
I have invested in the Eclipse PRP system; a Health Canada and FDA approved system.