What is PRP?
PRP, short for Platelet Rich Plasma, is a concentrated serum processed from your own blood. This serum can be used to help generate collagen growth, resurface skin, improve acne scarring, and generate hair growth, among other things. Over the past several years, use of PRP among medical doctors has grown exponentially, as evidence continues to build for its use. At present, everyone from orthopedic surgeons to dermatologists and hair restoration surgeons are incorporating PRP as a regular part of their practice.
The most impressive aspect of PRP is that it is an autologous treatment. In other words – rather than having an artificial substance used as a treatment, PRP utilizes the body’s own healing powers to treat the problem. The PRP works by “tricking” the body into healing itself. PRP stimulates the release of cytokines and growth factors, such epidermal and tissue growth factors. These growth factors, in turn, stimulate the cells in the treated area to help the underlying problem.
A Look in to the PRP procedure
Where can PRP be applied?
For hair restoration patients, PRP can be used as a stand-alone therapy to help decrease further hair loss and also increase the density of existing hair. It doesn’t “bring the hair back to life” that is already dead, but in many cases, it reactivates hair that is in the process of dying – i.e. hair that is dormant under the skin or miniaturized. The term “miniaturization” is a term used by hair restoration surgeons to describe what happens to a hair as it dies – the follicle shrinks and the corresponding hair becomes thinner and shorter, and eventually goes away forever. PRP works very well as a mono-therapy in thickening hair by preventing these processes.
But PRP has further application in hair restoration. By using PRP before, during, and after hair restoration procedures, it acts as a “fertilizer” for the transplanted hair. By doing so, the hair growth process is accelerated, and transplant survival can improve.
For PRP facial treatments, the growth factors employed by PRP can help with a multitude of age-related skin problems. Among these issues are fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots, melasma, cystic acne scarring, large pores, and even active acne. Many patients report an overall lifting and tightening of the skin after a PRP facial treatment.
What does having a PRP treatment entail?
First, since patient comfort is of the utmost importance, a strong topical numbing cream is applied to the area that is going to be treated. Then a small amount of blood is drawn into a specialized PRP tube. This tube is then placed in a centrifuge, where it spins at a high RPM for ten minutes. Once the centrifuging is completed, there are approximately 7 milliliters of PRP available for use.
For hair loss patients, this PRP is injected into the anesthetized scalp in a grid pattern, using a small needle. Swelling is minimal, and patients can typically resume normal activity the following day without anything appearing out of the ordinary.
For facial treatments, the zone to be treated has PRP applied lightly to the skin surface. This is followed by a micro-needling pen treatment to that area, which is proceeded by a gentle re-application of PRP. Although micro-needling might sound like an extremely painful process, it is actually very tolerable. On a pain scale of 1-10, most patients rate PRP micro-needling at 1 or 2. This process is then repeated, zone-by- zone. The micro-needling zones typically consist of the forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, around the eyes, around the mouth, chin, neck, and décolletage. By working only one zone at a time, the physician is able to monitor appropriate treatment depth, maximize results, and ensure patient comfort. Once the micro-needling process is completed, the physician typically reserves a small portion of PRP, which then can be injected into the most troublesome spots. For example, a person with troubling pitting acne scars on the cheeks can have PRP injected directly into those areas, which can significantly reduce the acne scarring. Once this process is completed, a soothing recovery cream is applied. The appearance of the procedure typically resembles intense sunburn, but the healing time is impressive. Most people are looking great in two days.
Whether for hair restoration or facial rejuvenation, PRP is truly an impressive cutting edge therapy that produces amazing results and most importantly, is very, very safe.