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Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is derived from one's own blood. Blood is drawn in the routine fashion and then spun at high speed (centrifuged) to separate the Red Blood Cells (RBC's) from the "plasma", or watery, portion of the blood. In a centrifuged tube of blood, a very high concentration of platelets can be found in the small space between the RBC's and the yellow plasma portion. The platelets are drawn off in a small amount of plasma to yield an all natural portion of fluid that is very rich in platelets.
Platelets are tiny cell like structures in the blood that aggregate and attach around the site of injury. A normal level of normally functioning platelets is critical to the process of blood clotting when we are cut or injured. In addition to their function in the formation of normal blood clotting, platelets also contain little "packets" called "Alpha Granules". Alpha Granules contain more than a dozen different growth factors, proteins capable of stimulating and directing the body's natural healing and repair processes. In the right circumstances, or with the appropriate trigger, platelets can be activated to release their growth factors. Among other things, these growth factors stimulate fibroblasts and other repair cells in skin, ligaments, tendon, etc. Fibroblasts are responsible for the formation of collagen Types I & III.
PRP has been used for more than a decade by many different medical specialists. It has been used in orthopedics, podiatry, neurosurgery, pain management, general surgery and cosmetic surgery for its ability to heal and repair, to rejuvenate, and to relieve chronic pain. It has shown great success in the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions/injuries including:
When PRP is injected in/around injured or diseased joints/tendons/ligaments for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, studies have shown improvements in pain of 60% at one month, 85% at six months, and 93% at one year. The tremendous success of PRP to stimulate repair and alleviate pain in many chronic musculoskeletal conditions is what prompted interest to use it for cosmetic treatment of the skin.
PRP For Hair loss
It is very normal for people to shed some hair on a daily basis, but excessive hair loss is a very big concern to both men and women. With PRP the platelets aid in clotting of blood which is the key to the body's ability to heal wounds. PRP increases the platelet count in the wounded area and the body healing capacity in that area is then increased. Doctors incorporate PRP for growth of thinning hair, transplanted hair and wound healing. Many patients have benefited from this treatment.
How does PRP help in treating hair loss?
In hair growth, if the follicles of the hair are healthy, the growth of the hair is healthy. The hair follicles survive nutritionally from the blood supply. When we introduce platelets from PRP in an area where the follicle is damaged, the body's own naturally occurring wound healing mechanism are amplified. PRP can be used to stimulte the growth of hair follicles preventing hair loss.
PRP has been used singly, especially in the rejuvenation of skin of the face and neck, but it has also been used adjunctively to improve the success of fat transfer, liposuction, stem cell therapy, and other cosmetic procedures.
When used to rejuvenate the skin of face and neck, improvements have been noted in all of the following: Skin tone/tightness, horizontal lines, texture and smoothness, folds (like the nasolabial fold, marionette lines, etc), pigmentation, and scarring.
No study has ever shown worsening of the above features with PRP treatment. All studies have shown improvement in the above conditions of skin, with improvements ranging from 25% to 80%.
The duration of the improvements stimulated by PRP treatments is not known with certainty, and will vary based on genetics, general health and nutrition, care of skin, sun exposure, etc. Most experts believe the effects last at least as long as the effects of fillers (i.e. one to two years) , and considerably longer in many patients.
In more than ten years of use, no major complications have been identified in the use of PRP. Because PRP capitalizes on the amazing healing powers within one's own body, you never have to worry about product recalls or late onset side effects from introducing a foreign substance into your body. The most commonly reported negative side effects are mild bruising from the injection or pain at the site of injection. These are generally mild and of short duration. Because the skin of the face and neck is very sensitive, most practitioners will apply a topical anesthetic cream or gel 30-40 minutes before performing PRP injections in the face or neck.
Early in the use of PRP, the cost of a single treatment could be several thousand dollars. Because of improvements in the technology for separating and concentrating platelets, the cost of PRP is now comparable to the cost of a single syringe of the popular fillers (e.g. Radiesse, Juvederm, etc).