What is platelet-rich plasma?
Human blood is made up of platelets, plasma, and white and red blood cells. It is the platelets that are the workhorses of wound repair. They enable the blood to clot, and initiate all sorts of healing functions. The concept behind platelet-rich plasma is to create a more concentrated number of platelets. This is done by removing the white and red blood cells from a blood sample, leaving only plasma (the clear fluid that makes blood liquid) and platelets. Without the white and red blood cells, the platelet ration is higher in PRP, usually around four times higher than in normal blood.
How is PRP created?
To create PRP, we simply take a blood sample, similar to what is taken for typical blood tests. We then place the blood in a closed, sterile centrifuge system. The centrifuge spins at a high rate, separating out the different components of the blood. The white and red blood cells are then removed, and the PRP is ready to be reinjected.
Where can PRP be used?
We use platelet-rich plasma predominantly for skin rejuvenation, but it is also showing promise for hair restoration and as a dermal filler option. These other uses are all currently in large-scale clinical tests, but the thinking is that the PRP stimulates the stem cells and other cells surrounding dormant hair follicles. Once stimulated, these cells can trigger the hair follicles to move from dormancy back to the active growth phase. Although FDA-approved dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane are more effective at filling and erasing wrinkles, it again is thought that the growth factors present in PRP can make it effective for wrinkle filling, as well.
Why does PRP rejuvenate the skin and hair?
Blood platelets are the key to healing wounds, and PRP has four times the number of platelets than in regular blood. Platelets promote healing, tissue regeneration, and new cellular growth. When PRP is reinjected in the case of hair restoration or allowed to penetrate the epidermis into the dermis through microneedling, the serum triggers a wound response in the body, which then creates new collagen and elastin for months following your procedure. Since collagen and elastin are responsible for making human skin firm, yet supple, this is how PRP acts to rejuvenate skin.
It’s thought that the numerous protein growth factors in PRP play a key role:
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) — Promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, and collagen production.
- Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) — This is the regulator of normal physiology in nearly every type of cell in the human body.
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — Promotes growth and generation of vascular endothelial cells.
- Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-b) — Promotes growth of skin cells and blood vessels necessary for wound healing.
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — Promotes growth of new skin cells, would healing, and collagen production.
- Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF-2) — Promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessels.
How is PRP added to microneedling?
At Advanced Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, we first take your blood and condense it down to PRP. After we’ve placed the topical anesthetic on your treatment areas, we then apply the PRP serum to the treatment areas, and immediately follow with microneedling. To ensure thorough penetration, we also re-apply PRP after your microneedling.