Dr. Bonnie McKinley is the founder of Star Advanced Medicine, in Furlong, which offers non-surgical, regenerative orthopedic services alongside regenerative aesthetics.
How do you define regenerative medicine, and how are you using it in your practice?
Regenerative medicine is the regrowing and repairing of injured tissue. Typically, we use proliferative solutions, or the body’s own stem cells or platelets injected into the damaged area, using non-invasive techniques. We offer the Vampire aesthetics procedures, which can be used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne scars and even female sexual dysfunction and incontinence.
Why did you pursue a practice in regenerative medicine?
Being certified in sports and musculoskeletal medicine, in conjunction with having an affiliation with Bluetail Medical Group—who are innovators in the field and use research-based methods of treatment—has prepared me to use regenerative treatments for musculoskeletal injuries. Because of the high safety profile and increased number of people that I could help, I became a certified aesthetic provider as well. I found these treatments to be incredible and underused in medicine. This field is rapidly growing and I believe it’s going to change the way medicine is practiced in the future.
In layman’s terms, what is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma. The process involves drawing blood, which is then spun in a centrifuge, and concentrated platelets are removed and prepared for injection into desired areas. Platelets release growth factors that increase collagen and renew blood flow, healing damaged tissue and rejuvenating skin.
What should people understand about what you do and what are some common misconceptions?
In many cases, these safe, effective treatments are viable alternatives to surgical procedures. However, there are some underlying ailments or comorbid conditions that may affect the way a patient responds to regenerative procedures. I evaluate each patient carefully to determine if PRP/stem cell treatments are a viable option.
A common misconception is that the stem cells we use are taken from human embryos. The stem cells primarily used in the regenerative medicine field come from one’s own body, bone marrow or fat aspirate. There are companies that manufacture products that promote healing which are derived from cord blood as well as amniotic fluid; however, in these cases, the products are donated by mothers, and no one is harmed in the donation process.
Another misconception is that stem cells are illegal. Outside of stem cell manipulation, they are completely legal. Some misconceptions come from recent FDA scrutinization; however, stem cell research is at the forefront of medical research.
How are stem cells used in aesthetics, and how does this differ from fillers and peels that dermatologists and plastic surgeons use?
In aesthetics, PRP is used to “signal” stem cells to migrate to the injection area, unlike orthopedic procedures, where bone marrow and fat grafting is used to regrow injured tissue. Using PRP in aesthetics is enough to create beautiful results. Unlike plastic surgery, it’s completely non-invasive. I am unaware of any major permanent side effects caused by an aesthetic PRP procedure. If you have a skilled injector, non-permanent fillers are generally very safe. When doing the Vampire facelift procedure, I use a filler to sculpt the face, if indicated, in addition to PRP to improve collagen production and skin tone.
What are ways that people can afford regenerative procedures?
We currently offer Care Credit and payment plans, depending on the patient’s financial situation. We’re also in the process of starting a loyalty program. We are more than happy to work with our patients so they can afford these safe and effective treatment options.
Location: 2325 Heritage Center Dr., Ste. 315, Furlong. For more information, call 267-544-0664 or visit StarAdvancedMed.com. October 2017