Fat cells are extracted from the patient and processed to release good cells that are then injected into the scars
After some cajoling, I was able to make S. Kalpana tell me about the accident which left her with painful scars on her jaws, neck and right hand. She was understandably reluctant to speak about an event that led to a decade of pain and disfigurement. “I was in college when it happened,” she said. “I was lighting a pump stove at home when it blew up. I was wearing a nylon churidar and in the impact of the blast, the clothes stuck to my body.”
Her neighbours rushed to help her, she said. “They peeled the nylon bits from my body as it stuck to my arm and neck. They were trying to help but in hindsight, I realise it did more damage to my skin. Every time, they pulled out a piece of cloth, I screamed in pain. Had I worn a cotton dress the damage would not have been this extensive,” the youngster said.
Kalpana was a student of pharmacy when the accident occurred. She tried to find a way to get over the constant itch and pain, but had no hope of erasing the scars. “I met several plastic surgeons in Chennai and Bangalore but they told me to either remain as I was or suggested surgical procedures beyond my means. The surgeries would not really cure me though, the doctors said,” she recalled.
On Wednesday, she was due for another session with her plastic surgeon A. Jeya Prakash who has been treating her since 2009 and has also healed some of the scars. While other plastic surgeons suggested varied therapies which were not only expensive but painful to endure, Dr. Jeya Prakash offered her something new, less invasive and less expensive. Her therapy is not complete yet but she says her arm is functional. “Earlier I needed help to comb my hair, but now I can use it like anyone else,” she said, happiness in her voice. “The pain and itches are gone, and after a few more sessions, I will be around 80 per cent cured. After that, if I wish, I can continue the therapy or give up,” she said.
Dr. Jeya Prakash, who trained in the United Kingdom, is using a technology that has been in vogue there for the last 15 years. “It is a combination of laser and cell therapy which not only softens the scarred tissue but also helps the skin to regenerate and attain its normal colour. Some people scar more than others and scar tissues may develop in different ways. The skin around the scar loses elasticity and functionality in the scarred area is reduced. We use laser to reduce the thickness of the scars. This, in turn, softens the tissue and reduces the pain. Mobility is also restored,” he said.
Fat cells are then extracted from the patient and processed to release good cells. “Fat produces 120 chemicals in the body and people are only willing to lose fat cells. We extract the cells around the fat, which are good cells. These are then injected into the scars.” This enables the area to regenerate skin. For Kalpana, the technique worked well and she is now happily married. She continues the therapy and hopes for complete cure once the therapy is complete.
Dr. Jeya Prakash’s company, The Medical Park, has signed an agreement with the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University to teach the procedure to students.