After years of using stem cell therapy with her laser resurfacing and microneedling patients, Southlake, TX, and Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD found that the traditional technique used to distribute the product on patients’ skin was lacking. Not only was it unsafe by increasing the risk of possible needle sticks and splatter, but also the old technique of dripping and rubbing wastes much of the expensive serums and stem cell therapies used to boost results while microchannels in the skin are open after procedures like these.
“I often use platelet-rich plasma stem cells, exosomes and other therapeutic products to help speed the recovery as well as boost the benefit of the treatment,” she explains. “When I first started incorporating PRP into my treatments, called PRP facials, I was using a technique that’s employed by most clinicians, which is by dripping the product from a needle onto the skin.”
Safety + Efficiency Issues
Dr. Hopkins found that while performing this procedure, even with extensive training and experience, the risk of a needle stick was always present. “This is concerning because these are blood borne particles and could have risk for HIV or hepatitis transmission if the patient had those underlying infections,” she notes. “To reduce this risk, I removed the needle and I proceeded to use the syringe to distribute the product but quickly realized that I had no control. The serums were dripping and running down the patient’s face and neck. I realized I was wasting product and that spreading it with my hands could cause contamination.”
Developing the CuraCator
In addition to her own experience, Dr. Hopkins found through rhetoric at multiple medical meetings that other clinicians and physicians lecturing on these techniques and treatments were using that same high-risk, dangerous technique of dripping, rubbing and smearing the stem cells. After lecturing at the 5 Continental Congress meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on autologous cell therapy for wound healing and doing research on the different techniques and protocols used, she learned that globally, clinicians around the world were using the dripping and wiping syringe technique.
From her concerns came the CuraCator, a medical device Dr. Hopkins created to stop risk of needle pricks, spillage, and unnecessary waste. The CuraCator offers a hands-free experience when applying platelet-rich plasma, exosomes, or other serums to newly wounded skin from lasers and microneedling. “This practical, simple sterile medical device attaches to any universal Luer Lock syringe allowing the user to slowly, carefully and gently apply product to skin or any tissue,” says Dr. Hopkins.
Improving the Patient Experience
From the patient perspective, she notes that while lying on the table having these treatments done, many patients experience a sense of uneasiness that the product will drip in the wrong areas: “They can feel it running down their neck or in their mouth or eyes. One of my patients had a negative experience at a medspa when after getting microneedling serum being dripped, splattered into her eye. It took weeks for her eye irritation to heal and that was very traumatic for her. If you think about it, that’s the opposite experience we want for our patients when having a therapeutic aesthetic treatment, so CuraCator technique is not just beneficial for clinicians but improves the patient experience.”
Saving Precious Growth Factors
In addition to boosting safety and comfort, another true benefit of the CuraCator is in its ability to get the most out of PRP, exosomes or other expensive serums used post-procedure. “It not only reduces the risk of contamination and prevents needle sticks, but it also avoids splattering and wasting expensive products,” explains the doctor.
“Because we’re not using so much PRP on your face, we can have some leftover to inject into your scalp to help with hair growth. When we’ve already used it for a PRP facial, we can use what’s left over for a second procedure.” As PRP and growth factors become staples for skin regeneration, using the CuraCator to safely distribute high concentrations of cell regenerating topicals is the future of healthier, younger-looking skin.