Vampire facials! Blood facials! You may have heard these terms advertised just in time for the Halloween season. In spite of their somewhat intimidating names, these are simply trademarked versions for rejuvenative procedures utilizing PRP, or platelet rich plasma. PRP has been used for decades in the treatment of sports related injuries and healing. In more recent years, it has been popularized for other aesthetic uses. At Northeast Dermatology & Cosmetic Center and SKIN Dermatology & Aesthetics, we have utilized PRP for years in rejuvenative and restorative procedures such as hair loss, facial rejuvenation, treatment of acne scars, and the O-shot.
The process of PRP is fairly simple with the patient providing most of the needed materials. A vial of blood is drawn from the patient, giving rise to the various spooky terms to describe the procedure. The blood is then steriley processed and spun down to separate out the different cells and blood components from the platelets and plasma. The residual material contains a concentrated level of platelets in the plasma, hence the name platelet rich plasma.
Once obtained and processed, the PRP may be used for a variety of purposes. From the top down, we can start with hair loss. PRP has gained popularity as a standalone or combination treatment for hair loss in both men and women. It is a nice non-surgical option for beginning stages of hair loss, or can be combined with surgical options such as hair transplant to enhance results. The PRP is simply injected into the scalp in a procedure that only takes minutes, but may require repeated procedures in order to obtain the best results.
Moving down, one of the most popular uses for PRP is in facial rejuvenation or acne scarring This may be done again as a standalone procedure or combined with other procedures in order to enhance penetration. In the simplest version, the PRP is simply massaged onto the skin and left in place for a short period of time. In order to enhance results, PRP may be combined with microneedling. Microneedling involves passing a device to produce numerous small needle pricks over the surface of the skin in order to promote collagen growth. The PRP is then applied and penetration enhanced due to the small needle pricks produced by the microneedling. If a little more aggressive procedure is desired, some of the PRP could also be injected directly into the skin in the areas of need on the face. For the greatest effectiveness in one procedure, PRP may be combined with Secret RF or fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. Secret RF is a microneedling procedure that combines the treatment with radiofrequency delivered directly into the collagen layers of the skin, promoting tightening and jejuvenation. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing accomplishes the same thing through the use of an energy-based laser.
Continuing to move down, PRP has also been used very successfully in the O-shot for urinary incontinence, medical treatment of the inflammatory condition lichen sclerosus, as well as enhanced sexual gratification for women. After application of topical ice and local numbing, the PRP is injected into the vaginal tissue in a simple in-office procedure. Typically, patients can expect rapid relief in symptoms of urinary incontinence or a slower, more gradual improvement in sexual enjoyment or lichen sclerosus. Repeated procedures may be necessary in order to maintain improvement. More information on any of these uses of PRP may be found on our website or you can talk to one of our medical providers by scheduling an appointment today.