Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or ‘Dracula Therapy’ is a revolutionary repair system that places growth factors in the exact location where we want the skin to repair and rejuvenate. The treatment involves harvesting platelets from the patient’s own blood in order that we can inject them into problem skin areas, starting with the extraction of a very small amount of our patient’s blood. This is then placed in a centrifuge to spin down the blood which separates the red blood cells from the platelet rich plasma. Platelets contain a high content of “growth factors” – proteins that help to heal injured tissue or damaged skin. Upon re-injection the platelets release their growth factors which trigger surrounding cells to proliferate, in turn stimulating repair, increasing volume and rejuvenating the skin. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy costs £325 per session or £900 for a course of 3. Generally, you need two to three top-up sessions after your first treatment.
***PRP therapy is also known as autologous rejuvenation therapy.
Blood (a small amount) is taken from the patient during the treatment, then treated (in a centrifuge) to harvest the platelet rich plasma and re-injected into the desired area.
It is known to give increased radiance, smoothness, calm inflammation and help treat a variety of conditions.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has been used for a number of years in urology, ophthalmology, dentistry, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and sports medicine, trauma, diabetic feet, leg ulcers, to treat muscle and ligament injuries, pain problems, skin lesions and more. Due to the success of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy in medicine, the procedure was then developed into a cosmetic procedure.
Platelets contain a high content of “growth factors” – proteins that help to heal injured tissue or damaged skin. Upon re-injection the platelets release their growth factors which trigger surrounding cells to proliferate, in turn stimulating repair, increasing volume and rejuvenating the skin.
If you are considering Platelet Rich Plasma therapy the following information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure. It can’t answer all your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the practitioner. Please ask Victoria about anything you don’t understand.
The platelet plasma, which is the component of the blood that is known for being highly effective in treating burns and skin injuries, is then injected into the chosen area, where it plumps up the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
When the platelet plasma is injected into the skin, the platelets release their growth factors. The growth factors stimulate other cells surrounding the injection site, plumping them up and causing them to increase in volume. The platelet plasma sends out signals to other cells in the body when it is injected, telling them to rush forward to the injection site. One cell that is stimulated during the process is the fibroblast cell, which is the cell type that creates collagen. Collagen is what gives skin a youthful appearance. As we age, collagen is produced less and less, causing wrinkles and fine lines in the skin, and therapies such as PRP therapy that stimulate collagen production can counteract this. Another cell stimulated during the process is the pre-adipocyte cell, which is a cell type that can convert into a fat cell, which is especially important in the face to fill out lines and to contour the face.
PRP therapy can be used on the face, particularly around the eyes, mouth and nose, the backs of the hands, and all over the body, more commonly the décolletage and even the knees to give skin a more youthful and radiant appearance.***
What can Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy treat?
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy can be used to treat numerous cosmetic problems, such as fine lines and wrinkles or crepey skin around the mouth and nose, crow’s feet around the eyes and mild drooping or sagging skin around the eyes or on the cheeks. PRP therapy can also be used to improve the appearance of dehydrated or mildly sagging skin on the backs of the hands, on the tops of the feet, elbows and knees. It can be used all over the body.
In terms of medical treatment rather than cosmetic treatment, PRP therapy can be used to treat a multitude of problems, including osteoarthritis and ligament and muscle injuries. It has been used widely in medicine for a number of years.
What happens during a PRP treatment?
During your first visit to Elysium you should explain what you expect from PRP Therapy and how you would like to look afterwards. Victoria will discuss any potential problems connected with the treatment based on your medical history.
Victoria will take your medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have the treatment. Then you will be asked to read detailed information and sign a consent form which means that you have understood what the treatment may do, along with any potential side effects.
***Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner for a “before and after” comparison of the treatment.
10 to 20 minutes before your procedure, your practitioner will draw 10-20ml of blood. This is done in a similar way to when you have blood taken for testing at the doctor’s office.
The blood will then be spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelet plasma from the red blood cells using one of the branded systems described.
Any makeup on the skin will be removed using a wipe, and antiseptic will be applied to the injection site. Depending on your practitioner, a topical local anaesthetic will then be applied to the skin of the injection site. The PRP will then be injected into the skin in the desired area using a very fine needle. Injections will be given multiple times in multiple locations in order to give an overall improvement to the area.
An ice pack may then be pressed onto the treated site to reduce any swelling. You will then be free to leave and go about your daily business. The whole procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.
It may take a few weeks for the results of the PRP therapy to become visible, but with two to three top-up treatments, you can expect the results of PRP therapy to last for up to one and a half years.***
How long will it take to recover from a PRP treatment?
Recovery time is minimal with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, much like a visit to the doctor for a blood test. The actual procedure of reinjection of the PRP involves the use of topical anaesthetic, although not always depending on the patient and area being treated, rather than local or general anaesthetic, meaning that most patients feel comfortable returning to their normal activities straight after the treatment or within a short while.
What are the risks and potential complications from PRP treatment?
There are few side effects associated with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Immediately after the procedure, you can expect some bruising, swelling and redness at the injection sites. You may also experience some tenderness and pain at the injection sites. However, any side effects should dissipate within a few days following the procedure.
What should you do after a Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy treatment?
It is very important that you follow the advice of your physician following treatment. Post-treatment advice could include:
The use of painkillers to treat soreness or pain in the treated area, as recommended
The use of cold compresses to treat swelling in the treated area, as recommended
Most patients will be able to go straight back to their normal regime following treatment, but if you experience any tenderness or pain at the treatment site, you should take extra care when washing and caring for your skin in the days following the PRP therapy.
Who should not have a Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy treatment?
To undergo PRP therapy, you should be in general good health and you should have realistic expectations of the outcome. Most people are suitable candidates for PRP therapy, and it is recommended as a safe treatment for individuals who are unable to undergo more invasive procedures such as a full face lift, due to the risks associated with general anaesthetic (although it will not achieve the same results as a surgical face lift).
Individuals with platelet dysfunction syndrome, critical thrombocytopenia, hypofibrinogenaemia, haemodynamic instability, sepsis, acute & chronic infections and chronic liver pathology are not suitable candidates for PRP therapy.
Those undergoing anti-coagulant therapy are also not suitable candidates.
Who can perform Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
Only fully trained and qualified medical practitioners (nurses, doctors or cosmetic surgeons) should perform PRP therapy.
Is PRP available on the NHS?
It is unlikely that anyone considering PRP Therapy for cosmetic indications would be able to access this free of charge on the National Health Service (NHS).
Summary of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy information
PRP therapy is a revolutionary new therapy that is a safe and alternative treatment to various other non-invasive cosmetic treatments such as botulinum toxins and dermal fillers. It’s considered to be a natural treatment, as it uses the body’s own cells (blood plasma) rather than a synthetic substance.
Following PRP therapy, your skin will look more smooth, radiant and youthful.
There are very few risks associated with PRP therapy if it is administered by a fully trained physician.