What is PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is the concentrated component of blood serum comprised of platelets. PRP is generated by extracting your own blood (usually through a small venipuncture in the arm) and then separating out human blood components through centrifugation (a high speed spinning process). The red and white blood cells are discarded, and the platelets, full of growth factors, are isolated and prepared for injection. When activated, the platelets form a platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM) and slowly release growth factors including VEGF, PDGF, EGF, and ILGF. The PRFM releases growth factors continuously for days. The Selphyl® system, used in our office, allows for the proper PRP activation and formation of the PRFM. Many PRP systems skip this critical step. Upon activation, the platelets are ready for injection back into the body.
What is PRP used for?
PRP is approved by the FDA for orthopedic surgery uses. In dermatology, PRP is used in an off-label manner for the treatment of androgenic alopecia (patterned hair loss) and facial rejuvenation.
How does PRP work?
After harvesting and isolating the PRP from the blood, Once injected into the scalp or face, the platelets (in the platelet rich fibrin matrix, PRFM) are thought to release numerous growth factors, such as VEGF, PDGF, EGF, and ILGF. Upon binding to various cells within the hair follicle, such as the dermal papillae, the hair follicle is encouraged to growth longer and stronger by enhancing the anagen phase of the hair follicle.
What is involved in the PRP treatment?
First, a consultation is made to determine eligibility for treatment. If your hair loss is appropriate for PRP therapy, follow-up treatments will be scheduled.
Your own blood is withdrawn through a small venipuncture in the arm and then spun down to extract the PRP. Upon activation, the PRP is ready for injection. Once divided into separate syringes, the PRP is injected with small doses in a grid-like pattern into the scalp. Injections are repeated every 6 weeks for a total of three treatments. Re-evaluation is performed at 3 months and 6 months. Often injections are repeated at 6- or 12-month intervals.
The process is similar for facial rejuvenation except that the PRP is injected directly into the soft tissue of the face. Injections are performed once, and then repeated 4 weeks later. Re-evaluation is performed at 6 months and often treatments are repeated.
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