Over the past few years, the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has become increasingly popular for many different types of medical treatments. PRP’s aesthetic applications are fairly new, but it has long history of being used in orthopedic medicine, dentistry and reconstructive surgery. It has been a popular treatment for tendon, tissue and joint injuries because it is rich in platelets and growth factors, which help these injuries heal faster. These same properties are what make PRP injections great for cosmetic procedures, as it stimulates collagen the repair and regeneration of tissue to help diminish the appearance of issues such as sun damage, wrinkles, scars and dark circles under the eyes.
PRP is a becoming a more and more popular option for patients looking for facial rejuvenation because the treatments use the patient’s own blood instead of other substances injected into the body. Because the body is unlikely to reject or have a reaction to its own blood, this means that there are virtually no risks or side effects.
PRP Filler Injections
Dermal fillers have long been a popular, minimally invasive way to replace lost volume, reduce lines and wrinkles and improve scarring. Most dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a naturally occurring substance in the body. These fillers provide instantaneous results when injected, and then are slowly absorbed by the body over time.
A newer option for facial rejuvenation is injections using PRP fillers instead of a traditional dermal filler. Treatment with PRP injections starts with blood that is drawn from the patient and then put into a centrifuge to separate the platelets, growth factors and PRP from the rest of the blood. The PRP is then injected into the areas that need correction. It can be used in the same areas as traditional dermal fillers to replace lost volume and reduce wrinkles, but PRP injections can also help the overall appearance of your skin.
PRP injections can have immediate results after treatment like those of dermal fillers, but this usually subsides over the first few days as swelling goes down and your body absorbs the PRP. Then, over time the results begin to improve again as your body begins creating collagen, grow new cells and rejuvenate your skin in the areas the PRP was injected. The maximum results should be seen about 3 months after the initial treatment, and then can last up to 2 years. This means that you may need to wait longer to see the full effects of PRP as opposed to dermal fillers, but the results will also last longer than your average filler.
Areas that Can Be Treated with PRP Injections
PRP fillers are used to restore or enhance areas in the face that require more volume:
Because the results from PRP fillers can take some time to fully develop, some patients opt to combine these injections with dermal fillers. This is often referred to as a PRP facelift, or Vampire facelift. This allows the patient to get the benefit of both types of injectables, as the use of dermal fillers with this treatment allows you to see immediate results while the PRP begins to work, and the PRP can help to improve things that fillers cannot, such as skin tone and texture.
The first part of a PRP or Vampire facelift is the injection of traditional dermal fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm, to restore youthful and natural-looking lift and volume to the face. Each patient will have different needs and areas of concern, which will be discussed in the initial consultation. These results will be immediate, so after the treatment you will already be looking younger and more rejuvenated even before the PRP begins working.
After the dermal fillers have been injected into the desired areas, the blood is drawn and separated to derive the PRP. The PRP is then strategically injected into areas where you want to stimulate new collagen and new fatty tissue to help the smooth the skin, and improve blood circulation to help with skin tone and texture. This part of the treatment will produce these results over time, naturally.
The results from the PRP portion of this treatment appear in multiple waves. Every person is different, and may see different results at different times, but there are some basic guidelines for what you can expect:
For even better results, any of these treatments can be combined with a PRP facial to help further rejuvenate and improve the skin.
What are the Risks for PRP Injections?
Because PRP is derived from your own blood, there is no risk of a reaction, but some people may experience mild swelling, bruising, itching or discoloration after receiving the injections. These are usually temporary, and similar to what some people experience with dermal filler injections.
PRP aesthetic treatments are gaining popularity and have become trendy with names like the Vampire facelift, but they are still medical procedures that should be performed by a trained medical professional. While the risks of using PRP are low, you could still have an undesirable aesthetic result if your injector is not skilled in the process.