Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
It was only about 40 years ago that blood platelets — an irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood — were considered as singularly involved in the clotting process, the mechanism by which bleeding ends. When research in to heart disease and hardening of the arteries accelerated in the mid-1970’s, platelets were further examined and found to have unique properties that effected tissue growth. About 20 years later, the field of “Regenerative Medicine” was born with a focus on methods to regenerate and/or engineer tissue in a laboratory setting to meet the needs of complex wound healing and organ replacement. Due to the unique properties of platelets and the discovery of their numerous growth factors, the interest in platelets grew. Continued research and testing showed that in addition to their clotting function, platelets have a profound effect on wound healing due largely to components inside them called granules and the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) procedure was effectively born.
The PRP procedure is simple from a medical perspective: a patient’s blood is drawn and processed in a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the rest of the blood. This centrifuged platelet-rich plasma is then applied in various clinical scenarios to stimulate tissue growth.
Unlike tissue engineering, platelets hold more immediate potential including augmentation and optimization of existing tissue; affordability and are minimally invasive. In addition, because it uses the patient’s own blood, it is customized to the patient’s personal DNA and will prompt no allergic reactions.
Since the 1990’s the most popular PRP application has been in orthopedics where it has been used for tendon injuries, cartilage healing and as a supportive measure in bone healing. More recently, the clinical success seen in the orthopedic area has stimulated enthusiasm in the plastic surgery industry where there has always been a keen interest in promoting cell renewal and tissue growth, particularly in the face.
Ten growth factors found in platelets
- Platelet-derived growth factor chemotactic for fibroblasts, macroph debride tissue, promotes HA, fibronectin, collagen
- Transforming growth factor beta synthesis, preservation ECM
- Fibroblast growth factor angiogenesis, fibroblasts, repair and growth
- Insulin-like growth factor 1 cell growth and multiplication
- Insulin-like growth factor 2
- Vascular endothelial growth factor vessel permeability, ECM, chemotactic
- Epidermal growth factor mitosis endothelial cells
- Interleukin 8 inflammation and wound healing
- Keratinocyte growth factor stimulate thickening of barrier layer to skin
- Connective tissue growth factor contributes to the maintenance of normal cell and connective tissue function. It is also important for tissue repair
- Plasma is the straw colored liquid that is a part of our blood
- Platelets are a cell type within blood that is critical to wound healing and clot formation (stopping bleeding
- Biologic product is a product extracted or synthesized from biologic sources
PRP Therapy for Facial Aging
The facial aging process has been studied for years and there is agreement on all fronts that the changes in skin quality, thickness and texture represent the biggest challenge to the profession. Although we can lift and remove skin or heat it and cool it, we have yet to find a way to affect its inherent quality. The discovery of PRP has provided new pathways and early answers to this biggest obstacle.
There are several similarities between the processes involved in wound healing and those necessary for regeneration of skin. When the skin is wounded, growth factors accumulate at the site of injury and interact synergistically to initiate and coordinate healing. The growth factors decrease tissue inflammation, stimulate collagen development, grow new blood vessels and elastin fibers, laydown the matrix that holds and thickens cells together, and stimulate hyaluronic acid production. These cellular processes have shown in clinical trials to be beneficial to enhancing and improving aging skin.
We are so impressed with the results we’ve seen with the PRP procedure that I have started to offer it in my practice. We now offer a PRP series that, combined with supportive topical products like Retrinex and our exclusive FACTORFIVE serum, will help to diminish fine lines and stimulate the rejuvenation of your skin from the inside to add to overall skin integrity, thickness, hydration and tightness.
In addition, we’ll soon be offering PRP for two other exciting new areas: for hair regrowth in male and female pattern baldness and the “O” shot, which helps increase blood flow to the vaginal area to improve sex drive, increase orgasms, and combat painful intercourse. Stay tuned for more information on these exciting advancements!