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PRP Injection: What You Need To Know


PRP injection for hair growth

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a popular rejuvenation technique that has made its way into a remarkable number of medical fields with varied uses including cosmetic rejuvenation, hair growth, orthopedic therapeutics, and sexual health applications. 


At Northeast Dermatology, we offer PRP therapy for its anti-aging benefits when injected, micro-needled, or topically applied to the skin. We also inject PRP into the scalp for its ability to promote hair growth and offer PRP injections to treat certain types of sexual dysfunctions.   


While many offices may offer PRP injections, not all preparation techniques are equal, and we want patients to be educated and informed on the process that we have vetted for our PRP injections.


What Exactly is PRP? 


PRP is obtained by drawing our patient's blood into a syringe and then processing it in order to isolate and concentrate the platelets in the plasma layer. The platelet rich plasma layer is a rich source of natural growth factors and cytokines, containing over 800 bioactive molecules that can promote healing and rejuvenation. This is what makes PRP so effective in facial cosmetic procedures.


The field of PRP has continued to evolve. With that, many new protocols or strategies have emerged. Frequently, we receive reps stopping by our office to promote their particular system for converting patients' drawn blood into an acceptable PRP form for cosmetic use. We have been quite surprised that some of these systems are substantially cheaper than what we currently use. However, looking further into the details, we have found that not all PRP treatments or preparations are the same.


How PRP Treatments Differ


Typically, a patient's blood contains a concentration of platelets in the range of 150,000-450,000 per microliter. By definition, PRP should contain more than 1,000,000 platelets per microliter in order to have its greatest efficacy. PRP preparations generally have approximately two to five times the platelet concentration found normally in the patient's blood. Concentrations significantly higher than this can actually have negative effects on healing and the desired outcome. Lower concentrations than this may result in suboptimal improvement.  


Depending on intended use of the PRP, some systems will eliminate white blood cells and/or red blood cells, while others may tend to leave them behind. Some systems may use a partial or suboptimal spin time, while others may actually spin too long. All of these factors can be important when it comes to obtaining the desired outcome.


Platelet rich fibrin (PRF) is another PRP technique that has received recent buzz, especially on social media. PRF involves clotting factors being activated before injection, which thickens the consistency of the serum. While it’s the new kid on the block, there are really no clinical studies showing a difference between the techniques, and many PRF preparation systems produce serum that is low volume and low concentration, most of which have been supplanted by newer PRP devices that produce higher concentrated plasma.  


What You Really Need to Know About PRP


In general, we have found that many of these cheaper PRP systems do not produce the optimal concentrations of platelets or the elimination of unwanted components that we deem to be the most effective. It is possible to obtain less expensive PRP processing systems, which would result in a less expensive PRP treatment for our patients.  But in this case, you get what you pay for.  


Until more studies are performed proving the efficacy of these low concentration systems, we will continue to offer and perform true-PRP with proven concentrations and predictable results.  


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