Through a simple yet innovative cosmetic dermatology procedure, superior nonsurgical facial rejuvenation results have become a reality with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Leveraging the patient’s own natural healing abilities, platelet-rich blood plasma can produce impressive cosmetic benefits for the skin. The procedure has wide application, from facial rejuvenation to hair loss and even in the treatment of injuries, as plasma provides dense nutrients for area cells to thrive. Dr. Diane Walder and her colleagues of Miami, FL offers their dermatology patients PRP injections as a standalone procedure or in addition to other aesthetic services for cosmetic correction.
What are PRP Injections?
Platelet-rich plasma describes a natural component of a patient’s blood that is extracted during an in-office blood draw. The samples are generally spun in a centrifuge, which allows the platelet-rich plasma to be separated from the other parts of the blood, like lower-quality plasma and red blood cells. Often called “liquid gold,” this yellow-colored liquid contains growth factors, which are proteins that promote healing. The platelet-rich plasma also contains proteins that assist with the growth of new cells in damaged tissues. Healthy cells are prompted to replicate, effectively replacing damaged cells. Collagen growth also improves, which is the foundation of youthful, beautiful skin. The science behind the efficacy of the procedure is simple, and occurs naturally in the human body every day. Regenerative medicine manipulates this process to result in higher quality skin tissue.
PRP injections first became popular with the microneedling procedure, then platelet-rich plasma is topically applied over the treated skin. Through the controlled injuries caused by the perforations of the tiny needles, the plasma can easily enter into the skin and jump start the healing process. The technique has evolved to include different procedures and ways to distribute the platelet-rich plasma.
PRP Injections Procedures
Platelet-rich plasma injections are administered at Diane Walder Dermatology for three types of procedures that the plasma is clinically proven to enhance: facial rejuvenation, post-laser treated skin, and hair loss.
As the skin ages and lines and wrinkles develop throughout, platelet-rich plasma can be injected under the skin to target these areas. The liquid gold can benefit the face, neck, and hands through a series of injections that often work in tandem with dermal fillers. Filler materials that accompany the platelet-rich plasma are generally synthetic hyaluronic acid fillers from the Juvederm, Restyane, and Belotero lines, or the patient’s natural fat. PRP has been shown to promote viability of stem cells found in fatty tissue. The combination procedure provides the benefit of instant volume restoration, which lifts the skin creases and depressions, and the long term benefit of healthier cell growth to produce more youthful-looking skin.
Similar to how microneedling creates injuries in the skin, which can then heal to create an even healthier structure amplified by the application of platelet-rich plasma, the same concept applies to resurfacing lasers. During a resurfacing laser treatment, the outer layers of the epidermis are removed. This provides easy access for the PRP liquid to reach underlying tissue when it is spread across the skin. Not only will the enriched plasma speed up the healing process, but its nutrients will also enhance the final results of the treated skin. PRP is used after treatments such as microneedling.
Platelet-rich plasma can be injected directly into the scalp into areas of hair loss. This method is effective for treating pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia in both men and women. The mechanism of action from various studies show that growth factors in PRP act on the stem cells in hair follicles to promote the growth of new hair.
Good Candidates for Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatments
Many aesthetic patients can benefit from PRP treatments, but those with certain conditions may not be ideal candidates. People with hemophilia, conditions that cause an immunocompromised status, and those on high doses of blood thinners may have a greater risk during this and other cosmetic procedures. Others who may not be ideal candidates for this type of cosmetic procedure are patients with extensive facial aging and extensive skin laxity. Platelet-rich plasma can address mild to moderate facial folds and some laxity, but may not offer as much improvement as more invasive facial plastic surgeries. An individual consultation with the dermatologist will determine if PRP is a viable treatment option for you.
FAQs – PRP Injections
How much blood is drawn to isolate the patient’s platelet-rich plasma?
Depending on the patient’s aesthetic needs, between 1-6 vials of bloods (10-60ml), will be drawn to produce enough PRP for the procedure. This is generally performed the same day as the procedure. This small blood donation will not negatively affect the body or procedure, and any extra plasma can be used for additional same-day treatments.
Are there any risks associated with PRP treatments?
Every treatment in aesthetic medicine carries some degree of risk, but any adverse outcomes are significantly minimized through the use of autologous (your own) platelets. The body will not reject applied or injected PRP because the body recognizes the biomaterial as its own, rather than a foreign substance. Though the plasma will not negatively impact the healing process, it is possible that infection and nerve and tissue damage may present issues. Such complications are unlikely as the procedure is performed in the controlled office setting.
Are PRP procedures painful?
Dr. Walder and her staff are careful to ensure patient comfort during their time in her office. Topically applied numbing medications like lidocaine will help prevent any painful sensations. Additionally, post-procedure icing and drugstore pain medication will help prevent swelling and discomfort.
How long will it be until results are visible?
When PRP is performed with certain procedures, like facial fillers, some results may be immediately visible. In other cases, like following laser skin resurfacing, hair restoration and skin rejuvenation, results will become apparent over time with gradual improvement. It can be several months until patients see the final results.
How many PRP applications or injections are needed for improvement?
The typical number of PRP treatments needed is between 3 and 6, depending on which procedure is performed. The plasma may be administered in different ways to suit the needs of the cosmetic procedure.
What else can PRP injections treat?
Dark circles and puffiness below the eyes can be improved by PRP injections. The plasma will help to increase collagen production, creating firmer skin that effectively conceals minor cosmetic defects.