Platelet-Rich Plasma Across Medicine: How PRP is Used in Dermatology and Other Medical Fields
Advancements in modern medicine have allowed for multiple forms of skin care treatments and other medical concerns. Platelet-rich plasma is one resource that has created simple and effective options for various medical fields. In fact, PRP is used in dermatology to improve the look and feel of skin, and many patients are thrilled with the results.
If you are considering platelet-rich plasma for your needs, or your doctor has recommended it for you, the following are some of the basic facts about PRP that you should know.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Plasma is the clear, straw-colored component of blood. PRP is a high concentration of platelets in its own plasma.
For PRP treatment, a small amount of blood is drawn from the patient, similar to a basic lab test. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge, and the platelets are separated from other components of the blood. The high concentration of biologic nutrient rich cells is activated to release at least eight essential growth factors and signaling proteins:
- Epidermal Growth Factor: Regulation of cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation during remodeling, which stimulates keratinocyte and fibroblast production
- Transforming Growth Factor: Promotes growth of new blood vessels
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor: Involved in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, this helps promote growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones
- Fibroblast Growth Factor: Promotes angiogenesis, granulation, and epithelialization
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor: Promotes collagen growth
- Collagen-Stimulating Growth Factor: Growth of healthy tissues and blood cells
- Keratinocyte Growth Factor: Optimizes healing and generation of new skin and reduces inflammation
- Interleukins, Macrophages, Keratinocytes, Endothelial Cells, Lymphocytes, Fibroblasts, Osteoblasts, Basophils, and Mast Cells: Induces collaged and proteoglycan synthesis for healthy cell production and repair of damaged tissues.
How PRP is Used in Dermatology
PRP is used in dermatology in several ways, so speak with your provider to determine if these treatments are right for you.
Depending on the goal of treatment, PRP can be injected into the desired areas, such as the scalp for hair growth or under the eyes for collagen stimulation. It can also be spread across after micropen for overall tone, texture, collagen stimulation, and repair of skin.
For hair rejuvenation, Associated Dermatologists recommends three treatments about a month apart, as well as a booster treatment three months later. Pending results annually, a single treatment may be recommended.
While dose and administration protocols have not been formalized, results are ever-evolving. Typically, a noticeable result is seen after the third treatment.
PRP may be used as a single therapy or as an adjuvant to other treatments, including finasteride orally and/or minoxidil topically.
PRP for Skin Rejuvenation
Platelet-rich plasma can correct fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of volume in the face. It is used as a growth factor when infused during a microneedle treatment or facial injections. Growth factors help to increase natural collagen production in the deeper skin layers, resulting in smoother, softer, more even-looking skin with a youthful glow.
- PRP with microneedle is completed as a 75-minute session consisting of 15 minutes for the blood draw and 1 hour for the procedure. We normally recommend four visits one month apart for optimal results.
- PRP with facial injections is scheduled as a 30-minute appointment, with an additional 15 minutes prior for topical numbing cream. Treatments may vary, but are typically held three times about 4 to 6 weeks apart.
The effect is instant as your skin looks taught, radiant, and smooth, and long-term benefits include the rebuilding of your own natural collagen supply.
Additional Facts About the Use of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Dermatology
PRP treatments have little to no side effects and very short recovery periods. Because platelet-rich plasma comes from the patient’s own blood, there is minimal risk of allergic reaction, but there are very rare reports of fever-like symptoms.
Prior to treatment, you should see your physician for a consultation, as your blood should be optimal for the procedure. Various prescription and over-the-counter medications such as blood thinners and aspirin should be avoided, as well as foods and supplements such as alcohol and garlic. Do not discontinue prescription medications without speaking with your doctor.
Other Ways PRP is Used Across Medicine
Other fields of medicine that also use platelet-rich plasma include orthopedics, general medicine, and gynecology.
- In orthopedics, PRP injections may be used for chronic tendon injuries, ligament and muscle injuries, arthritis, fractures, and post-surgical repair.
- In relation to wound care, PRP can be used in chronic, non-healing ulcers. Platelet-rich plasma gel is considered to be advanced wound therapy for chronic and acute wounds. In fact, PRP gel has been used to stimulate wound healing for more than 20 years.
- In gynecology, it is used in cervical ectopy, vulvar dystrophy, reconstructive surgery, ovarian failure, ovarian torsion, general rejuvenation, and urogenital conditions such as genital prolapse and urinary incontinence. It is also being studied in in vitro fertilization for implantation failure.