Everybody knows blood is important for delivering oxygen and nutrients from one part of the body to another to keep your organs healthy and functioning. But what you probably don’t know is that blood — or specific components of blood — can do a lot more than that. PRP therapy has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so as researchers, doctors, and patients begin to gain a deeper understanding of blood and its role in healing and tissue regeneration.
What is PRP?
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma, a blood-derived product that contains a higher-than-normal number of platelets suspended in plasma, the liquid part of your blood. Platelets are cells that play a critical role in healing. Each platelet contains growth factors, special chemicals that stimulate your body to produce new, healthy tissue to “patch up” injuries and restore damaged or malfunctioning tissues.
One of the benefits of PRP is that it’s made from your own blood, so you don’t have to worry about allergies or “rejection” issues that can occur with synthetic products or products made from harvested blood or tissue. Prior to your treatment, Dr. Palakurthi will draw a small sample of your blood from your arm, just like when you have a blood test or lab work performed for a physical exam. That blood sample is purified and processed, then placed in a special device called a centrifuge, which spins the blood rapidly, separating the platelets from the other components of your blood. Those platelets are then reintroduced to the remaining plasma portion, which effectively increases the total number of platelets well above their normal levels. Once the PRP is administered, it goes to work sending out special “signals” that stimulate your body’s natural healing processes.
Since so many different injuries are associated with tissue damage, it’s not surprising that PRP has gained a lot of attention as well as use in multiple areas of medicine. Dr. Palakurthi uses PRP for several treatments at her practice, helping patients have access to the most advanced options for optimal care and results.
Yes, it’s more properly called a PRP facial, but it’s the catchy nickname (made popular by Kim Kardashian and other Instagram-loving celebs) that most people remember. During a vampire facial, your blood is drawn and processed. Then Dr. Palakurthi prepares your skin with microneedling, a cosmetic treatment that uses a series of very small needles designed to prick your skin. The needles make tiny channels into your skin that allow the PRP to penetrate. The combined effects of microneedling and PRP stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, two components responsible for helping skin feel firm, resilient, and youthful. Over time, damaged tissue is replaced by new, healthy tissue to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars while also improving your skin's overall texture.
PRP joint injections deliver powerful healing properties and tissue-stimulating growth factors directly to a joint that’s been damaged by arthritis or other causes. Once injected, PRP helps heal damaged areas that may be causing pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. PRP can be combined with another natural substance called hyaluronic acid to improve joint function as well.
PRP therapy for hair loss works in a similar way, combining the benefits of PRP and microneedling, this time performed in the area where you want to encourage hair growth. PRP hair loss treatment is designed to stimulate inactive hair follicles, jump-starting hair cell production to help you grow new hair. Thanks to the growth factors in your platelets, many people find hair in the treatment area is stronger and thicker after their treatment.
Bottom line benefits
Because it uses your own blood, PRP can pose fewer risks than using synthetic products, plus because it uses injections (or in the case of a facial, topical application), there are no incisions, no surgery, and no anesthesia. What’s more, the fact that PRP is designed to stimulate your body’s natural healing processes means it can be an effective option for many patients, including patients who want to avoid more serious interventions like surgery.
Wondering if PRP therapy could be a good choice for helping you reach your goals? The best way to find out is to schedule a consultation with Lakshmi Palakurthi, MD. To schedule your visit, book an appointment online today.