Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy involves using a patient’s own blood to treat hair loss, sports injuries and encourage facial rejuvenation.
Blood is made up of a number of components including red cells, white cells, and platelets. Platelets contain proteins called growth factors, which are needed to stimulate the healing of injuries.
As the name suggests, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has a higher concentration of platelets than ordinary blood and is made by spinning a patient’s blood sample in a centrifuge to separate the platelets.
The growth factor concentration in PRP can be three to five times greater than would usually be present in the blood. Studies have shown PRP therapy has the potential to trigger natural rejuvenation of the skin and tissue, and increase the speed at which healing occurs.
In the case of injury to the tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, bone, and muscles, PRP can boost the body’s natural healing process. This may reduce the need for surgery or medication. PRP therapy is a non-surgical treatment administered by injection.
PRP for Facial Rejuvenation
When applied to the face, PRP therapy is sometimes colloquially referred to as a “vampire facial,” this is because a patient’s own blood is injected into the superficial layers of the skin.
The growth factors contained in the plasma stimulate the production of collagen, facilitating the repair of damaged skin - this could be caused by natural aging, sun exposure or acne scarring.
While PRP is not the best treatment option for restoring volume to the face or treating set-in frown lines (fillers, fat grafting and Botox are the preferred treatments in these cases), it can provide rejuvenation to the skin.
PRP therapy will enhance skin texture, tone and luminosity. Facial skin renewal is continual for about three months after the procedure, with results lasting up to 18 months.
PRP for Hair Loss
PRP therapy for hair loss involves the injection of plasma into the scalp. The essential proteins within the plasma stimulate natural hair growth.
It works best as a preventative treatment for people whose hair is beginning to thin. Substantial improvement in hair caliber and length can be seen where the treatment is applied. Improvements in coverage of the scalp occur most noticeably where there are large numbers of weaker hair follicles that can be improved.
PRP has shown excellent results for patients suffering from many forms of hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (or common pattern loss) and alopecia areata, and is suitable for both men and women. Improvement can be seen for 12-18 months following treatment.
PRP for Injuries
PRP therapy is becoming popular for the treatment of sports and musculoskeletal injuries.
Plasma is injected directly into the affected site to treat conditions such as tennis elbow and other chronic tendon injuries, knee sprains, pulled hamstring muscles and even arthritis.
The injection may be administered under the guidance of ultrasound or X-ray, to ensure PRP placement is precise. A single injection or a series of injections may be recommended, depending on the injury being treated and how the patient responds to initial therapy.
The high concentrate of growth proteins aids healing of the inflamed tissue, helping sportspeople get back in the game. As such, PRP therapy is now being used by many professional sports organisations.