More about PRP

cosmetic MD

PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP)

You can obtain more information about PRP injections by sending us an email at the Contact page or call us to arrange a consultation.

The information presented here is of a general nature and does not substitute for a face to face consultation with a medical practitioner.

You must first see a medical practitioner for a consultation to determine your suitability for treatment with PRP injections.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are platelets?

Platelets are small cell fragments that circulate in the blood. They play an important role in clotting as they are the first responders to blood vessel wall damage (such as from trauma or a needle) sticking together to form a loose mesh that stems blood loss until a proper clot starts to form. Once out in the tissues, the platelets initiate a wound healing response by releasing a large number of peptide growth factors. The wound healing property of platelets was not appreciated by modern medicine until the 1980s.

What is PRP?

At the most basic level, PRP is your blood without the red cells and white cells. PRP is composed of the water component of your blood, the plasma proteins and your platelets in a higher concentration than is normally found.

Blood is drawn from your arm like any other blood test, placed into a special collecting tube, which is then centrifuged to separate the red and white cells from the plasma and platelets. The tube itself may or may not have an anticoagulant added (to help stop the blood from clotting inside the tube before it can be used). The plasma is withdrawn and then used to inject into the skin. The platelet growth factors promote tissue healing by stimulating stem cells that results in the formation of new collagen, new blood vessels, new fat and new skin cells. The result is plumper, firmer and more youthful looking skin.

PRP has been extensively used in medicine, surgery and dentistry over decades as a means of accelerating wound healing, for skin rejuvenation and for hair restoration. The platelets in PRP contain many growth factors that initiate and control the wound healing process and stimulates stem cells to differentiate into new cells that have a variety of functions including collagen production and the growth of new smooth muscle and blood vessels.

What is PRF?

PRF stands for platelet rich fibrin. It is prepared just like PRP but in tubes without any anticoagulants. We can use PRF in the same way that we use PRP.

What happens with a PRP treatment?

Before any treatment, you will have a thorough consultation with your physician. This is your opportunity to discuss your goals and expectations for the treatment. They will ask about your medical history and advise on the most suitable treatment options.

After deciding on which areas are to be treated, the procedure is as follows:

  • Local anaesthetic cream is applied to the treatment areas to make the treatment comfortable (alternatively, nerve blocks may also be used)
  • Blood is drawn for PRP preparation, exactly the same way as a simple blood test
  • The blood is then spun in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes to isolate the PRP fraction of the blood
  • The skin is then cleaned with antiseptic
  • The PRP is then injected into the skin, either manually or with an automated device

If PRP is to be combined with another procedure such as laser skin resurfacing, the PRP treatment always follows the other procedure, whether the same day or at a different day in the future.

Please note that the blood collected or prepared PRP cannot be stored in the clinic for future use. It must be used on the day of preparation.


How long does a treatment take?

A treatment with PRP takes between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the number of areas treated. A lot of this time will be taken up with waiting for the numbing cream to take effect.

How many sessions will I need?

The standard treatment regime in Australia, the US and Europe is three (3) treatment sessions spaced about a month apart. However, as a rough guide, the number of treatments required to see results is roughly your age in decades (so someone in their 20s will generally need 2 treatments, in their 30s three treatments and so on). Once over 50, PRP is usually combined with another treatment such as skin resurfacing to improve skin texture.

Maintenance treatment sessions are typically annual - usually one or two is required.

How soon will I see results and how long do they last?

A PRP treatment is not suited for those who want a quick result.

The results will take 1 to 3 months in most people to see the improvement in their skin.

The results typically last 1 to 2 years hence we recommend an annual maintenance treatment.


Who cannot have PRP?

PRP should not be used in patients with

  • Clotting disorders
  • Low platelet counts or abnormal platelet function
  • Severe liver disease
  • On blood thinning medication
  • Prior skin cancer in the intended area of treatment
  • Cigarette smokers
  • Unwell for any other reason on the day of the procedure (such as a viral or bacterial infection)

If you are on medications such as anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen or similar), fish oil, krill oil, St John’s Wort or Vitamin E, these should be stopped at least 2 days beforehand as these medications can affect platelet function. You should make your treatment provider aware of any medications you are taking and the ramifications will be discussed during your consultation.

Although PRP itself is likely to be safe in pregnancy (it is your own blood), no clinical studies have been performed using PRP in pregnant or breast feeding women, therefore, we do
not recommend performing PRP in pregnancy or while breast feeding.

What are the side effects?

Generally, PRP is a well tolerated procedure. Your treated skin will be swollen and have a pink glow after the treatment. Any redness will fade within a few hours. Swelling usually takes 2 days to completely resolve. The most significant after effect that might occur is minor bruising due to the injections. After swelling and bruising resolves, your skin should go back to looking the way it was prior to the procedure. At this stage, the wound healing process is well under way but visible results will be seen at 4 to 5 weeks at the earliest.

Is there any after care?

After your PRP treatment, we recommend you continue to maintain good skin hydration and sun protection. If necessary, you may put make up on the skin immediately after a treatment. Topical active skin care such as Vitamin A, glycolic acid etc can be restarted the day after treatment.

For post-treatment instructions, please visit the
Post-Treatment Instructions page.