Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is isolated from your blood after a simple blood draw and spinning it down in a centrifuge. In other words, the spinning process separates out a component of blood called PRP that contains platelets and growth factors in a liquid (plasma). There are also some white cells, but what we are really talking about are the growth factors found in this
"regenerative" fluid. Growth factors stimulate healing, a natural process our bodies do quite well under the right circumstances. Applying PRP and its growth factors, appears to help to reduce inflammation, improve blood perfusion, and accelerate healing of injured structures. The best part is that PRP is made from your own, natural proteins and cells and is not synthetic in any way.
From a cosmetic plastic surgery standpoint, PRP has been shown to improve hair loss in both men and women, reduce acne scarring of the face, and reduce the signs of facial aging. A group of researchers in Italy found that PRP injections into the scalp of balding patients increased the total number of hairs, improved hair density and increased cell division of the hair follicle cells compared to no PRP treatment (Gentile et al., Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 2015). From a reconstructive plastic surgery standpoint, PRP has been shown to help improve healing in chronic wounds, which is a major healthcare problem throughout the world. A recent study of chronic venous leg ulcers showed a significant improvement in ulcer size after PRP injection compared to no PRP (Moneib et al., J Cosmetic Dermatology, 2017).
The benefits of PRP are just beginning to unravel, and there is so much more to learn about how the growth factors and cells aid in these various conditions. Stem cells are also an area of regenerative medicine that are showing benefits to patients. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting area of medicine.