|Beauty by Blood|
|Written by Dr. Lydia Waterson|
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy—also known as the “Vampire facelift” (a term trademarked by Alabama cosmetic surgeon Charles Runles and made famous by celebrities)—is a treatment used to help restore lost volume and rejuvenate the skin using the patient’s own blood. Over the past eight years, PRP has been used by surgeons to speed up soft tissue healing from sport injuries, treat burn victims and help patients with severe diabetic ulcers. As it turns out, this autologous (from your own body) regenerative medicine also has cosmetic benefits and works particularly well in areas that haven’t had success with standard treatments or fillers.
Studies have revealed that PRP therapy can treat the crepe-like appearance of aging skin on the neck and hands, an area renowned for being extremely difficult to treat. Clinical trials of at the Face Today Medical Clinic in NSW, Australia also saw dramatic improvements around the eyes and mouth where depleted collagen and elastin manifest in the formation of deep lines, wrinkles and dehydrated skin. PRP therapy is now being applied, and applauded, for cosmetic rejuvenation of the face, neck and hands. Dr. Matarasso, Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City calls PRP “cutting edge rejuvenation” in a quick procedure. “PRP is the ultimate biological skin rejuvenation treatment,” says Dr. Yien Yeo, a cosmetic physician from Perth, Australia.
Blood platelets play a key role in repairing damaged blood vessels and cells in the body, as well as helping to stop bleeding. They contain “growth factors” that activate and rejuvenate our cells. Unlike fillers that use synthetic substances to restore the lost volume, PRP uses your own natural biology to address skin defects and volume loss by triggering the production of new cells, new blood vessels and connective tissue repair. As a result, the production of new collagen and hyaluronic acid is stimulated, which improves skin health and creates a more vibrant, youthful appearance.
All age groups can benefit from PRP, while the number of treatments necessary will depend on the level of damage. It is, however, not suited for patients with chronic disease, cancer and poor platelet counts. Smoking, bad eating habits and other lifestyle factors should be taken into consideration so be sure to consult with your health practitioner on whether the treatment will benefit you. The healthier you are, the healthier your platelet rich plasma is, which directly translates into more effective results. The safety of this treatment has been studied in more than 25,000 medical papers worldwide and, to date, no serious adverse side effects have been reported. Because the injectable is made from the patient’s own blood, there is minimal risk for rejection, infection or allergic reaction.
The basic PRP therapy will consist of three 20-minute treatments, four to six weeks apart. First, your medical practitioner will withdraw one to two vials of blood from your arm. Then, it is spun down in a centrifuge at a pre-calculated speed to extract the most viable fibrin and platelets. The collected serum, rich in restorative platelets, is injected into the areas of concern. Patients typically see improvement in three weeks as the skin starts to feel hydrated with a finer texture. The skin continues to improve over time as PRP builds tissue. Results last 12 to 18 months—even longer by implementing maintenance treatments. Optimal results will be achieved when used in combination with fillers, Botox, laser resurfacing or facial surgery.
PRP is one of the latest advancements following a steady 15-year trend of patients seeking less invasive and safer procedures for facial rejuvenation. It is expected that the growth factor based treatments will only gain momentum and popularity in the future.