WHAT IS PLATELET-RICH PLASMA (PRP)?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a therapy that uses your own cells to heal and regenerate your skin. To make PRP, we draw a small amount of blood from you and spin it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets into a small amount of plasma – hence, the name platelet-rich plasma. PRP is gaining in popularity for the same reasons athletes and celebrities choose it: because of its organic nature and because it works. Also, since PRP uses plasma and platelets from your own blood, side effects are practically nonexistent and the whole procedure is far safer than other surgical and non-surgical procedures available.
HOW DO PLATELETS REJUVENATE SKIN?
Platelets are the cells in the blood that help tissue heal and regenerate after an injury. Your platelets are packed with molecules called growth factors – and this is no accident. Think about what happens when you cut your skin: it bleeds, and platelets flood the wounded area to form a clot. And then new skin grows. Have you ever thought about how amazing that is? Have you ever wondered how that is possible? The answer is that the platelet’s job is to carry growth factors to the site of an injury in order to stimulate the local tissue and stem cells to regenerate wounded tissue. So, what happens when you put concentrated platelets in aging skin? The growth factors do their job – they naturally “wake up” the dermal cells, causing them to produce more collagen and elastin, which is what makes the skin more youthful. PRP is the healthiest, most natural way to improve the appearance of wrinkles, scars and other effects of aging.
PRP has been shown to have overall rejuvenating effects on the skin including: improving skin texture, thickness, fine lines and wrinkles; increasing volume via the increased production of collagen and elastin; and, diminishing and improving the appearance of scars. The most dramatic results to date have been skin problems under and around the eyes, in the neck and décolletage. PRP is not designed to replace cosmetic surgery, as there are some cases where those procedures would be more appropriate.
OTHER BENEFITS OF PRP:
It works with body’s own healing mechanism.
There are no foreign substances injected into the body.
Minimal or no down time.
Safe with minimal risk.
Short recovery time.
No general anesthesia required.
Every natural process in your body happens gradually over time, and skin regeneration is no exception. When PRP is delivered under the surface of the skin, the results begin to show within 1-2 weeks and continue to improve with time, leading to naturally stronger and healthier skin.
Three treatment sessions are generally recommended, spaced 6 weeks to 3 months apart, to achieve the best outcomes.
Technically, PRP can be used to treat any area of the body. For cosmetic purposes, PRP is most popularly used to treat the face and neck.
The treatment of PRP involves a fraction of blood collected from the individual patient into a tube. The collected blood is then spun down in a special centrifuge to separate its components. The PRP is then drawn up into a syringe and reinjected back into the skin.
Typically, a PRP treatment takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete. This includes taking the patient’s vitals, applying numbing cream, drawing the blood and separating the plasma. The injection part takes 15-30 minutes, depending on the areas being treated.
Generally speaking, PRP treatments are almost painless, though the different areas of the face and neck feel very different. Since PRP is liquid, we inject it with a smaller needle which means less bruising and less pain.
Some mild discomfort may be felt while the PRP is being injected. The sensation typically felt is a tingling sensation. This sensation only lasts a few minutes after the PRP is injected. We ensure our patients are comfortable throughout the entire PRP treatment and apply topical numbing cream for about 30-40 minutes before the injections to aid any discomfort.
You will have mild swelling for about 2-3 days. You may have small bruises at the injection sites, but these are generally mild and resolve quickly.
Since PRP stimulates your body to produce its own natural collagen, the results are gradual. Generally, patients notice tightening and a more even tone to their skin in 1-2 weeks after PRP injections. These results continue to build for up to 6 months after treatment.
There is no downtime associated with PRP injections; however, after your treatment, your skin may be a little swollen in the areas injected. This is normal and to be expected. Due to this, some patients like to be treated towards the end of the week, so they have the weekend to recover. Healing time varies from patient to patient. It is recommended, if you have a special event or vacation coming up, that you schedule your treatment at least 2 weeks in advance (we prefer 3-4 weeks).
Whether you are using PRP for skin regeneration or to fill hollowed-out areas of the face, we generally recommend 2-3 treatments spaced about 6 weeks to 3 months apart for you to see the full effects. For very deep lines or scars, you may need more treatments.
While we cannot stop the aging process, we can slow it down. Results from PRP injections can be seen for many years after treatment; however, these results vary due to the individual’s natural variation in quality of PRP, as well as their lifestyle. Results from PRP injections can be extended with proper at-home skincare maintenance. Once you have gotten the full benefit from a series of PRP injections, the results typically last 1-2 years. If you do not get a full series of PRP injections, your results will not last as long.
During your consultation, an assessment will be made to ensure you are the right candidate for PRP injections. Patients with certain health conditions and patients who are pregnant are not candidates for PRP injections.
PRP has a 30-year history of being used in orthopedic surgery, dentistry, and rehabilitative medicine. It has been used in plastic surgery and dermatology for about 10 years. Scientific studies dating back 30 years have documented that PRP stimulated the growth of new tissue when applied to wounded or injured areas of the body. Studies over the last 15 years have shown that PRP grows new collagen when injected into the skin, and more recent studies show that PRP can soften sun damage and other aging skin issues.