What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?

Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.

PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.

To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood.

Advantages of Using PRP

Advantages of using PRP include the following: tissue regeneration and rejuvenation, induction of cell differentiation, extracellular matrix formation, recruitment of other cells to the site of injury, and an increase in collagen production, which can increase skin thickness and overall skin health. In addition, PRP is nonallergenic, is an autologous physiological product, eliminates donor transmissible infections, and is a biological glue for tissue adhesion, especially in skin flaps, bone grafts, and trauma.

Dermatology and Cosmetic Medicine

In dermatology and cosmetic medicine, PRP has been used to treat acne, scarring, and alopecia (especially in women). It is also effective for skin rejuvenation and tightening around the eyes (for thin crepe-like skin and fine lines) and in the following areas: cheeks and mid-face, thinning skin on the neck, jawline, back of hands and others (eg, knees, elbows, and upper arms, as well as for post-pregnancy skin laxity).

Platelet-rich plasma is injected by multiple tiny punctures under the dermis, with or without topical local anesthesia. The process is painless if sufficient topical anesthesia is applied. When PRP is injected into the damaged area, it stimulates the tissue, causing mild inflammation that triggers the healing cascade. As a result, new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures, it begins to shrink and tightens and strengthens the skin, as well as the tendons and ligaments of the damaged area when it is injected at that level. Improvement in skin texture and tone is noticeable within 3 weeks. Full collagen regeneration requires 3 months. Topical skin care and light therapies can enhance these results. Advanced wrinkling cannot be reversed, and severe scarring may not respond to treatment.

The PRP treatments can be used on all skin types and tones. Minimal swelling, bruising, and redness for the initial 12 to 24 hours are expected. A bruise at the needle stick site may be visible for 2 to 3 days. Swelling from the fluid is what the patient will notice first. During several weeks, the platelets stimulate growth factors, which assists in more collagen stimulation. Treatment results vary but last up to 18 months in most patients. Bi-annual touch-up treatments will maintain the results.

As an initial treatment strategy, up to 3 injections may be given within a 6-month time frame. These are usually performed 2 to 3 weeks apart.

PRP Injections (aka “Vampire Facelift”)

PRP Injections (aka “Vampire Facelift”). Platelet-rich plasma is injected into the appropriate areas with very small needles and the high platelet concentration stimulates the growth of new collagen, revitalizes skin tissue and leads to naturally smooth and firm skin. PRP treatments get rid of wrinkles and creates a smoother skin feel and tone. PRP injection treatments are becoming a preferred facial rejuvenation method due to their overall enhancement and natural appearance.

PRP For Hair Growth.

PRP for hair growth. PRP contains many growth factors that stimulate the hair follicle’s growth by increasing blood circulation and supplying needed nutrients. PRP is injected on the scalp or it can be rubbed on the scalp after a dermaroller (skin needling device with multiple little surgical needles) treatment is used in the areas which suffer from hair loss.

The treatment not only promotes hair growth but strengthens the hair follicles as well. Those with thinning hair, and people with androgenetic alopecia (hair loss at the top of the scalp and a receding hairline particularly along the temples-male patterned baldness), women with male pattern alopecia can all benefit from these treatments.

Microneedling

Microneedling with PRP has been used to minimize the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. The usage of microneedling is to initiate collagen synthesis. This has been achieved by causing minute injury to the dermis with the use of microneedles. The needles used are so fine and thin that tissue damage is almost nonexistent. The “nerve stimulus,” transmitted by electrical signals, triggers the cascade of the healing process, discharging growth signals to cells.

PRP treatments can be used on all skin types and tones
Minimal swelling, bruising, and redness within the first 12-24 hrs
Patients will notice improvement in skin texture and tone within 3 weeks
Fibroblasts migrate to the pinpricks initiating wound closure. This natural tissue remodeling continues for 8 weeks to 1 year and patients notice a difference within the first 3 weeks of injection.

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