What is PRP?
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is a non-surgical procedure where patient’s own blood is first drawn (like the way blood is drawn during a blood test) and then the collected blood is placed in a test tube and centrifuged to separate the PRP. Post the centrifugation process the PRP (pale yellow) floats on top and the rest of the blood constituents (deep red) settle in the bottom of the test tube. Next, PRP is collected from the test-tube into small syringes and injected back at the location in the patient’s body that needs healing. Platelets contained in PRP stimulate growth of cells. PRP has been used for wound healing and it’s known to have worked for numerous athletes over the years. For the past few years, it’s become popular in the cosmetic industry, where it’s used for hair loss, acne, scars and antiaging treatments. PRP is safer than other cosmetic procedures as the injected substance is derived from patient’s own body, so there is no possibility of infection, allergic reactions or any other side effects. In the cosmetic world, when used to rejuvenate the skin, PRP treatment is also known as Vampire facelift and bloody facial. PRP is replacing traditional facials and chemical peels as it’s natural and long lasting.
How does PRP work?
PRP procedure involves extracting the platelets from the blood that contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors. Platelets help in healing the affected areas by promoting growth of cells in the injected area. Platelets are made up of many intracellular structures, including lysosomes, glycogen and alpha granules. These granules contain clotting and growth factors which speed up the healing and repair process. Platelet composition in PRP is over 94%, compared to 6% in normal blood. It is therefore able to accelerate healing by regenerating tissues at a faster rate. Although PRP is injected into the body like any other filler, it is all natural and safe as the chances of body rejecting its own blood are minimal. PRP is guaranteed to work as it is an established fact that the growth factors in PRP induce healing. The effects may vary depending on the severity of the condition and content of PRP in ones blood.
What conditions are treated with PRP?
PRP was originally used to speed up healing of sports injuries and healing of post surgery injury sites. In both conditions, the injury site is injected with PRP preparation. Some common injuries that benefit from PRP are fractures, Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries, Chronic Tendon Injuries, Knee Arthritis and Fractures. In the cosmetic field, PRP is used to treat hair loss, acne, scars, aging and under eye dark circles. The results from PRP are natural and long lasting, it’s therefore replacing the chemical treatments and becoming more popular in the cosmetic field.
Who is an ideal candidate for a cosmetic PRP?
People having reoccurring acne, uneven skin tone, hair loss, facial skin aging and scars can immensely benefit from PRP procedures.
For face, PRP is more effective than chemical peels as it facilitates natural healing. The results are long lasting. PRP is perfect for individuals who are seeking a gradual improvement in their skin’s texture and desire noticeable, natural looking results. It works great for individuals in the 30s, showing mild to moderate signs of aging. Candidates should be in good health overall.
For hair loss, candidates experiencing thinning hair would be the best candidates. Totally bald areas may not benefit from PRP alone and for those patients, PRP is often done in combination with the hair planting procedures.
How many PRP sessions are needed to see the benefits?
Depending on what condition the treatment is used for, one or many sessions may be needed. For conditions related to face, it is advised to take 3 sessions, at 1 month interval, followed by a yearly session. The effects of PRP last for 1-2 years and more. Some patients start experiencing the effects within 2-3 days of the treatment, for some it takes a few weeks to observe noticeable improvements. The exact frequency for the sessions is arrived at once the doctor examines the candidate’s condition.
What are the precautions required before you get a PRP done?
Inflammatory medicines (including ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin) need to be stopped when PRP is being administered. This needs to be done 7 days before the procedure and up to 15 days after the procedure. These medications are stopped as they interfere with the healing process induced by the treatment.
Patients taking other blood thinners need to consult with the doctor.
Since there may be temporary bruising and swelling on the face, it is advised to get the procedure done when there are no planned social commitments for at least 1 week post treatment. Most pricks do not show up 12-24 hours post treatment, but some insertions may lead to blood clotting that show up as blue spots on the skin.
What can I expect during a cosmetic PRP procedure (hair growth and face corrections)?
The procedure involves drawing patient’s blood (from hand) and centrifuging it. This process takes 10-20 minutes. Once the PRP is obtained, it is collected into small syringes and injected back into the face/scalp with the help of micro needles. For face, depending on how the doctor plans to inject, one can expect 10-30 pricks are different areas on the face. This procedure takes 10-15 minutes. Some patients like to take a local anesthetics to minimize the pain causes when the plasma is injected. For such patients, a local anesthetic cream is applied and kept for 40-45 minutes prior to the procedure. It is then cleaned thoroughly before the procedure. Some doctors apply an antibiotic cream along with the anesthetic cream to avoid infections. If the anesthetic has been applied, you can expect a mild prick like sensation during the procedure. The experience largely depends on the doctor doing the procedure. Post the procedure, ice packs are applied to reduce the swelling and pain caused by the pricks. Then, in the end, an antibiotic cream is applied. The face can be washed next day. Temporary soreness can be experienced on the face, after the anesthetic effects fade, however it is not a major discomfort and it subsides in a few hours.
What results can one expect after a PRP for face and PRP for hair loss?
The effects of PRP start to show up from immediately to 2-3 weeks after the treatment is done. Results may vary depending on what the PRP was used for. Acne scars, for example, start reducing post 2-3 weeks. Overall health of the skin is improved drastically after 1-2 sessions. One can expect increased glow on the face, reduced fine lines and acne control.
When used to treat hair loss, improvement in hair texture and volume can be observed. Depending on the condition, multiple sessions may be needed.
What is post procedure care for PRP and possible complications after PRP is done?
Since PRP involves injecting one’s own blood, there’s no risk of any major complications. Mild itching, swelling, bruising, irritation may be observed immediately after the procedure that may last 12-24 hours. Slight wounding can be expected at the site where the pricks are made, that heal in 2-3 days, sometimes it may last 5-7 days. To avoid any chances of infections, doctors prescribe oral antibiotics to be taken for 5 days post the procedure. Some doctors provide an antibiotic cream to be applied on the face for 3-5 days after the procedure. If the patient experiences pain due to the pricks, mild pain killers may be advised. To maintain the results of the treatment, the skin needs to be kept hydrated and moisturized. It is advised to keep the skin clean by washing it twice a day. It would help to stay away from dust and pollution until the sites where the pricks were made heal completely. Additionally care must be taken to apply sunscreen during the day.
What is the cost of a PRP session for face?
PRP is usually more expensive than other treatments. Since the procedure involves injecting PRP, it is entirely done by a doctor and that is primarily the reason it is more expensive than the traditional chemical peels. A single PRP session may cost from 5 thousand to 20 thousand rupees in India. Clinics offer package deals where multiple sessions can be taken at a discounted price. Depending on the package, the per session cost is reduced from 30-50%. Additionally, depending on the city and the clinic, the costs may vary drastically. For example, popular skin clinics may charge up to 20 thousand per session, whereas the treatment would cost between 5 and 10 thousand in a local clinic. Patients prefer to get the procedure done by a doctor who is more experienced as the treatment involves injections and chances of temporary bruising if the pricks cause internal bleeding. PRP is not covered under insurance. In US, a PRP treatment may cost from 5000 USD to 7000 USD, there again, the cost varies across clinics.