What is A-PRP?
Platelet rich plasma which is commonly referred to as PRP is human blood that is spun down and separated producing a concentration of platelets. Platelets are the clotting cells of our blood but they also have great potential in enhancing healing of muscle, tendon and ligaments. It is a non-operative treatment option that relieves pain by naturally promoting long lasting healing of musculoskeletal conditions. It has been used in orthopedics in the treatment of professional athlete’s primarily and highly functional individuals for many years. It gained popularity in athletic injuries enabling people to return back to regular activities and competition with minimal to no pain at all. It spread into other more generalized use in the population and is a very effective technique for treating arthritis, tendonitis, ligament sprains and tears. PRP therapy presents patients with a long lasting, permanent solution through the body’s natural healing process.
The blood sample is collected from the patient and is given back to the patient and is referred to as autologous collection. For simplicity of language the “autologous” is dropped and the process is referred to as PRP.
The Science Of PRP
Our blood is made up of 93% red blood cells, 6% white blood cells and 1% platelets and plasma. These platelets are critical to our survival as they are best known for their function of blood clotting, to stop bleeding. Platelets also have a critical component in injury healing. They are rich in connective tissue growth and healing factors. The body’s first response to tissue injury is to deliver platelets to the area. These platelets initiate repair and attract stem cells to the injury. By injecting growth factors into damaged tissue it stimulates the natural repair process. To maximize the healing process the platelets have to be concentrated and separated from the red blood cells. This is done by centrifuging the blood and separating the plasma and platelets from the red blood cells. The PRP accelerates the body’s natural healing process when re-injected into joints and tissue.
The use of PRP has expanded into other areas of body repair. It is used in facial aging reversal, hair regrowth, and sexual dysfunctions in males and females as well as bladder control difficulties.
How Is PRP Created?
The creation of platelet rich plasma is simple, painless and can be done in a doctor’s office. The doctor or nurse assistant will draw an appropriate blood sample exactly like a routine blood test. Once the blood is drawn it is spun in a centrifuge at high speeds to separate the blood into red cells and concentrated platelets. Once the blood is separated these red blood cells are discarded and we are left with concentrated plasma rich protein which is ready to be used in the treatment process. On an average only 3-5 mls of plasma will be captured from one tube of blood. However a little goes a long ways and the usual amount of blood drawn is only one to two 5ml vials. This equates a maximum of 2 teaspoons in total of whole blood.
Are PRP Injections Painful?
Generally speaking PRP injections are not painful however the discomfort level depends on the part of the body being treated as well as the pain tolerance of the patient. Physicians are able to use an injector gun that precisely places the plasma at a therapeutic depth. The plasma can be also mixed with local anesthetic as well as vitamins, minerals and amino proteins that all share in skin regeneration. With the sophistication of the injection techniques over the last decade most people will experience only minimal discomfort.
How Long Does PRP Last?
This can be considered a permanent fix. PRP was first used in the 1980’s in cardiac surgery followed in the late ‘90’s in bone reconstruction. Subsequently it moved into treating musculoskeletal injuries particularly of high performance athletes such as Tiger Woods (golfing), Kobe Bryant (basketball) and Hines Wood (football), Rafael Nadal (tennis), Alex Rodriguez (baseball), Maria Sharapova (tennis), as well as many celebrities. It remained an extremely expensive procedure until more common usage and standardization of the materials required, for providing the procedure, became more generally available. The components in PRP begin to work immediately and tissue regeneration continues over weeks to months.
Vampire Facelift® & Vampire Facial®
The Vampire Facelift® is a patented procedure trademarked by an Alabama doctor, Charles Runels. He subsequently developed the Vampire Facial® as well as the protocols for hair restoration and treatments for sexual dysfunction for males and females (the “O” shot and the “P” shot). The Vampire Facelift® is a combination of PRP, filler and micro-needling. The Vampire Facial® is a combination of micro-needling and PRP.
Plasma Rich Protein For Wrinkles And Skin Folds
A-PRP can be injected into wrinkles but it is different from synthetic volume as the concept is not to fill the wrinkles but to stimulate the fibroblasts which produce new collagens and all the components of the extra cellular matrix. Those most commonly known are elastin, hyaluronic acids, glycoproteins and other fibroblast stimulants that all share the responsibility of skin regeneration. PRP can be injected into deep wrinkles and folds at the same time a patient is attending for volume replacement of the face, hands, neck, décolleté, allowing for an accelerated synergistic effect on the tissue area. These release growth factors over time at the precise area and will create permanent change while the natural filler creates a more pleasing aesthetic affect for the duration until the PRP effect starts to take over.
Fine Wrinkles, Skin And Hair
Injections either with single needles or multi-injector units place platelet rich plasma into the dermis support structure and accelerates and increases the tissue regeneration process. PRP can be injected locally into the face, forehead, neck, décolleté as well as the hands and the scalp.
Post Laser And Hydration
A-PRP stimulates the patients cells to regenerate the skins connective tissue resulting in faster healing of post laser and chemical peel procedures. It improves the elasticity, tone and thickness of the skin and contributes to remodeling collagen fibers. It helps reduce pain in the skin and allows the skin to feel cool and fresh. The risk with certain lasers with hyperpigmentation can be significant and the use of PRP reduces the inflammatory pigmentation reaction particularly after C0₂ lasers. In the situation of using it in conjunction with lasers, the plasma is applied directly and generously to the treatment area.
Acne Scars And Keloid Scars
There have been excellent results with the use of A-PRP into the periphery and scar matrix, by using superficial controlled injection depths as well as deep injections into the living dermis layer. Injecting into scars can be quite sensitive and this can be controlled by putting local anesthetic into the plasma. PRP can be used along with fractional lasers. These were designed in the early 2000’s for rebuilding tissue by microscopic mechanical destruction of cell columns stimulating the natural healing mechanisms in a different way than PRP, but again achieving permanent results. Scars are treated monthly until there has been complete replacement by healthy tissue.
Stretch marks and darkened stretch marks have been a particularly difficult scar phenomenon to improve. Fractional lasers also do a respectable job on stretch mark recovery. With the current use of PRP in the scar regeneration process as well, the results are remarkable.
PRP treatments alone or in combination with lasers and volume replacement have taken reversing the effects of aging to a permanent level that as applications for many areas of the body and is within the financial reach of the general population. By increasing the numbers of collagen fibres in skin there is an overall improvement in texture and elasticity, reversing sagging, crinkled skin. In hair loss management, PRP decreases hair loss to a normal level and increases the volume of the hair shaft, stimulates hairs to regenerate and increases the strength of the hair follicle.