They say scars have powerful meanings. It capture various phases of your life—natural a tattoo on your body. But to me, a scar paints the picture of the remarkable healing power of our body.
How many times have we completely neglected a wound and yet it has managed to heal itself? If you’re like me, you’ll agree that’s not uncommon. And for most part, all of us take it for granted. However, there are certain times in life for certain people when this automatic wound healing does not work.
What can we do then?
The best way is to find mechanisms that speed up the natural healing process. And here are 3 of the most promising ones.
We all know the 4 stages of wound healing: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. It’s a systematic process that overlaps but at the same time depends on the completion of the others. Anyone weak link can cause a slowdown or a halt in healing. On the other hand, a slight edge in any one of these 4 stages will cause the entire healing process to speed up.
This certainly helps in the faster healing of wounds from Chronic Diseases such as diabetes.
So the 3 methods we’ll look at, each have their strengths. And the trick is not to choose one over the other but to find a way to fit all three together to speed up healing.
The Bioactive market is expected to grow fast in the next 5-10 years. It’s revolutionary since it eliminates the use of surgical methods such as stapling and focuses on natural healing. This they achieve by finding a way to promote tissue granulation and epithelialization. For example, certain bioactive dressings have active antimicrobial properties including maintaining certain moisture, alkalinity, and pH. In addition, the bioactive dressing will also contain thrombin to kick off the body’s clotting mechanism, and antibiotics to prevent infection. This is an example of bioactive dressing.
A recent study suggests honey is one of the natural bio-active dressings.
There are two types of tissue-engineered wound healing products are available.
One that has no living cells and those with living cells. Products like Integra Wound Matrix do not contain living cells. These contain a matrix of plasmids that interact with the DNA to trigger the secretion of growth factors. This matrix may also contain collagen and elastin.
Those with living cells usually contain autologous fibroblasts and keratinocytes and they literally form a skin layer substitute. Products like Epicel are made from the patient’s own skin using a specialized process.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for wound healing is the fastest-growing treatment of the three solely due to its sheer simplicity and naturalness. There are no side effects and has recently become the default treatment for accelerating healing of all kinds. Studies suggest it’s showing wonderful results for treating ulcer wounds. Platelet-Rich Plasma contains many growth factors (PDGF, TGF-betas, FGFs, VEGF, etc.). With PRP, the patient’s own blood is drawn to a special apparatus called PRP Kit and spun in a centrifuge to separate WBC, Plasma, and RBC. From these components, a delicate mix of Platelet-Rich Plasma is extracted based on certain qualities of the wound and patient. The extract is then hand-injected into the wounded area releasing growth factors that recruit and increase the proliferation of reparative cells. For complex healing, like joints, ultrasound imaging is often used to guide the injection.
Often, reduced levels of active growth factors in the wound environment are the culprit behind slow or non-existent healing. And PRP is just a natural way to rectify that. The American Journal of Sports Medicine a stunning 88 percent of athletes who had been treated with PRP return to play without further injury. That’s a significant advantage.
The best part of PRP is that it either works or nothing happens, leaving the patients with no cause for fear. And we know the theory behind it is solid. Why not give it a shot (literally)?
If you want to learn more about PRP and how it’s done — watch my demonstration here.