While they’re primarily known for repairing the body in the event of a serious injury, the regenerative power of platelets can also be used for other applications. In recent years, innovations in platelet concentration therapy have given rise to platelet rich plasma therapies like platelet rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM) treatments.
But is there a difference in PRF vs PRFM treatments? While the platelet concentration of both products is the same, their applications differ. PRF is often used for dentistry and light aesthetic work, while PRFM is better suited for skin rejuvenation and hair regrowth. Aside from these distinctions, both platelet treatments are equally effective at using the body’s regenerative capability for biocompatible and effective growth.
Platelets are essential for helping the body with wound healing and cellular reconstruction after injuries. Similar to stem cells, they can help regrow skin, bone, and soft tissue around the injured area. Normally, this capacity for tissue healing only happens during active injury or cases where cell proliferation causes your platelet count to rise because of similar restorative processes.
PRFM and PRF treatments leverage this healing process by extracting the platelets directly from your bone, combining them in a platelet concentrate that is biocompatible with your cells. The resulting compound contains large amounts of growth factors, stem cells, and other essential cells needed for bone healing, hair growth, and other reconstruction.
Ultimately, PRF and PRFM therapy share their similarities in how they can help with the regeneration of the skin, soft tissue, and even bone in the treated area. These treatments can also be used interchangeably depending on the discretion of the dermatologist and the desired results of the patient, though careful consideration of their condition is still key to either treatment's success.
Both PRF and PRFM are derivatives of platelet rich plasma therapy, where the platelet concentration is much higher compared to PRF or PRFM. PRP preparation involves spinning a sample of blood from the patient at high speeds in the centrifuge, isolating the red blood cells from the platelets. The result is a PRP solution that contains almost pure platelet rich plasma, which can be used for a wide variety of medical and aesthetic treatments.
However, PRP therapy removes stem cells, white blood cells, and the other regenerative substances from the PRP solution. In contrast, PRFM and PRF maintain a steady leukocyte count which can provide the body with other benefits when it comes to tissue regeneration and bone regeneration. With the addition of substances like calcium chloride, a PRP solution can be turned into a fibrin matrix.
This platelet rich fibrin matrix provides a scaffold that can help the platelet concentrate cluster around the injection site, which can help make the release of platelet-derived growth factor more efficient. By using the fibrin membrane of an autologous platelet rich fibrin solution, the platelets stay in the treatment area for longer, providing better results.
PRF therapy is often used in reconstructive and regenerative dentistry, where a bone defect or tissue condition like gingival recession best responds to regenerative treatment. Aside from PRF helping with bone regeneration and tissue regeneration, the slow growth factor release forms a PRF clot that ensures consistent treatments can completely regenerate missing tissue in the area.
PRF is also required for processes like a dental implant if a sinus lift is required. Because the regenerative compounds bond quickly to a platelet rich fibrin membrane, it can speed up the healing process and avoid common issues forming like a mouth ulcer. The fibrin clot also prevents infection of any still-healing scars, which can cause serious complications in the recovery process if left untreated.
Aside from its use in dentistry, PRF treatments also form the basis of many skin rejuvenation therapies. It can be used as an enhancement for facial filler, functioning as a regenerative alternative to traditional laser or heat-based therapies. By increasing the collagen production of the filler area, it can further improve the results of facial fillers by providing additional support between filler treatments.
The PRF membrane in PRFM treatments is uniquely suited to hair loss and hair regrowth. The range of PRFM group treatments preserves the efficacy of the platelets for a more sustained release of growth factor, especially when combined with the buffy coat method of platelet extraction. PRFM treatments can increase collagen production and improve blood circulation throughout the treatment area, which brings much-needed nutrients required for hair regrowth.
PRFM treatments are also extensively used in skin rejuvenation treatments, especially for cases where the production of vascular endothelial growth factor is crucial for restoring lost volume to the skin. The platelet rich fibrin matrix helps in the formation and maintenance of blood vessels and provides the essential proteins needed for healthier skin.
Aside from treating hair loss, PRFM therapies are also used after procedures like microneedling and laser treatment, since the regenerative properties of the platelet concentrate can help the skin heal quicker from the micro-traumas caused by these procedures. While not necessarily required, PRFM treatment is highly recommended for intense skin ablation therapies, as it helps the body support the newly-exposed skin cells.
In many cases, PRF therapy may work better if the patient is looking for help with a medical issue that requires rapid and consistent treatment to manage. Because of the PRF membrane, PRF treatments are best suited to cases where bone regeneration and tissue regeneration are critical: for example, as a supplementary treatment after a bone graft.
PRFM treatments excel at skin rejuvenation and hair regrowth therapies, as the slow-acting release of growth factor ensures that the cells will still be stimulated in between treatments. More importantly, this also guarantees that the cells in the treatment are receiving additional support after the treatment is over, as the fibrin membrane can help keep the platelet concentrate in place for long-lasting outcomes.
However, given that a patient may experience different results between PRFM and PRF therapies, PRP therapy may also be considered as an initial treatment solution if the patient has any outstanding conditions that may affect the efficacy of PRFM and PRF therapies. If the initial results of the PRP therapy are effective, then the dermatologist can give them the go-ahead to switch to PRFM or PRF treatments depending on their desired results.
PRF and PRFM treatments are exceptional alternatives to surgical treatments for regenerative dentistry and hair rejuvenation, but they are both excellent ways to use the body’s own healing capabilities to speed up recovery and get desirable results. Dermatologists can always recommend these treatment methods for patients looking to improve their appearance without risking surgery, or for patients that are looking for reconstructive options to address active injuries.
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