platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has received so much attention that it may seem as if we’ve finally found the fountain of youth. Despite the hoopla, there’s little evidence to show that it works — or doesn’t work.
If you’re considering getting a vampire facelift, here’s what you should know.
What exactly is PRP?
We all have platelets in our blood. PRP is 3-step procedure that involves having your blood:
1 - Drawn from your arm
2 - Placed into a machine that separates the platelets from the rest of your blood
3 - Re-injected into you (only the part of your blood that contains a high concentration of platelets).
Orthopedic surgeons use PRP to help athletes recover more quickly after an injury.
In dermatology, PRP is being tested as a possible treatment for hair loss. PRP may also speed up wound healing. A few dermatologists are using PRP to give patients younger-looking skin.
If you have PRP to treat signs of aging on your skin, here’s what to expect:
1 - Blood drawn: You would have a small amount of blood (about 2 to 4 tablespoons) drawn from your arm.
2 - Blood taken to lab: The test tube containing your blood would be placed in a medical device called a centrifuge, which separates your blood into layers. One of these layers contains a high concentration of platelets.
3 - Blood injected: Your dermatologist injects the blood that contains the high concentration of platelets into your face or scalp, using a syringe or microneedling (device that looks like a lint roller with tiny needles sticking out of it). To give you immediate results, your dermatologist may also inject a filler.
The entire procedure takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
While PRP may sound like something straight out of a science-fiction novel, some patients are finding that PRP can:
- Reduce wrinkles
- Plump up sagging skin
- Get rid of deep creases
- Improve one’s complexion
- Diminish acne scars
Is PRP safe?
While dermatologists still have many unanswered questions, the procedure itself appears safe.
You may have a bit of pain, bruising, and swelling afterwards. These tend to go away within a few days.
The biggest risks comes from the way your blood is handled. It’s essential that the blood removed from your body be kept sterile. Otherwise, you could develop an infection.
For your safety, the facility should also follow the same process that transfusion centers use to make sure that your own blood is injected back into you. If you receive someone else’s blood by mistake, you could become very sick.
How long does it take to see results?
If you get results, the full effects appear within a few weeks to months.
How many PRP injections do you need?
Researchers have found that most patients who get results have 3 or more treatments. That means, you’d have to go to your dermatologist’s office 3 or more times to have blood drawn, treated, and injected back into you.
To give their patients more immediate results, some dermatologists inject a filler along with PRP. This allows a patient to see immediate results.
How long do the results last?
Results can last as long as 18 months.