Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, refers to the portion of your blood that contains platelets and growth factors. These elements of our blood are essential for tissue healing and repair. The PRP treatment utilises these elements to rejuvenate skin, giving it a natural boost. The growth factors help with collagen stimulation which helps to reduce the signs of aging and skin damage.
Blood is mainly made up of a liquid called plasma. It also contains cells called red cells, white cells and platelets. These platelets are tiny cells which help your body to repair because of the proteins they contain, called growth factors. The growth factors on the surface of the platelets not only help with tissue repair but they also stimulate collagen production. Collagen is an important protein that provides structure to the skin, hair and nails. As we age we lose collagen and therefore the PRP treatment a popular choice for rejuvenation and combating the signs of skin aging.
PRP refers to plasma that has a high concentration of platelets compared to the rest of the blood and therefore contains a high concentration of growth factors. In the PRP treatment the patient’s own blood is used and the PRP is obtained during a process called centrifugation. The blood gets spun in a centrifuge which separates out the platelets which can then be used in the treatment.
The most important part of the PRP are the growth factors released from the platelets. When the PRP is injected into the skin, a number of growth factors get released and cause the cells surrounding the area to start what is known as the healing cascade. Over the next few weeks, more and more growth factors will get released from the platelets. This then stimulates the production of collagen in the skin which adds structure and volume to the face, reducing fine lines and giving the skin a brighter, more youthful appearance.
The PRP treatment is a completely natural procedure using your own blood. Only a small amount of the blood is needed for the procedure. It is then spun and processed in our centrifuge to extract the PRP rich in growth factors which are needed for the treatment. There are no animal products or foreign materials used in the treatment.
The PRP treatment is very safe. Because the growth factors come from your own body and there is no application of anything unnatural there is no risk of asymmetry or allergy to the treatment. It is also suitable for all skin types.
PRP has a variety of uses in different medical fields. It is widely used in dermatological and aesthetic practices as it is especially useful for conditions such as facial and neck rejuvenation, fine lines and wrinkles as well as stretch marks and scars. Here at the London Dermatology Centre we offer, where appropriate, PRP treatment for the following conditions:
PRP is also used in cardiac surgery to promote successful wound healing following operations. It is used in dentistry and orthopaedic surgery to reduce bleeding, enhance soft tissue healing and bone regeneration. PRP has been used successfully in the treatment and care of diabetic ulcers to promote wound healing. It is also used in sports medicine, neurosurgery and general surgery.
In the first consultation you will meet with your specialist PRP practitioner and discuss the treatment, your goals and the procedure itself. You will also have the opportunity to discuss any queries and your PRP practitioner will answer any questions you may have. Following the consultation the clinician will take a small amount of your blood from your arm using a small needle.
The vial of blood is then placed in a centrifuge and spun very fast causing the platelet rich plasma containing the important growth factors, to separate from the other blood cells. Once this is completed the PRP is extracted and made ready for use. Before the treatment begins, a local anaesthetic will be applied to numb your treatment areas. Just before the treatment this will be removed and your skin will be cleaned. The clinician will then inject the platelet rich plasma into, and around, the area you wish to be treated.
Immediately following the treatment you will notice a little swelling from the injected fluid. Your skin tone and texture should noticeably improve within three weeks and the collagen regeneration will begin to happen in about three months. This is because over the weeks the platelets will release the growth factors and pre stem cells which assist in developing more collagen.
PRP can be used anywhere on the body. It can also be used in conjunction with other treatments. As PRP involves using your own blood, it is very safe and there are minimal risks of adverse reactions, rejection or complications. There has been lots of research to show that PRP is an effective treatment with minimal side effects. Possible side effects include minimal swelling, bruising and redness for 12-24 hours and minor bruising around needle sites can be present for a few days. The procedure itself only takes 30 - 45 minutes.
Each person’s body reacts differently to any treatment which means that responses to treatments vary. On average people have between 1 and 3 sessions. Your appointments will be 4 to 6 weeks apart. Your clinician will advise you on how many treatments are needed dependant on your requirements and skin type. There is no limit to the number of PRP treatments you can have but on average results last up to 18 months. Touch-up treatments will maintain the results.
For more information regarding the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment please give us a call on 020 7467 3720.
Content by Dr Sunil Chopra and Rebecca Perris.