Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are becoming increasingly popular as research has shown concentrated platelets have the capacity to aid in the healing of tough-to-treat injuries. Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) takes PRP to another level and is one of the newest procedures offered at Refined Dermatology. We invite you to meet Dr. Steven Swengel and get in touch with our office today by calling (408) 688-2082.
Both PRP and PRF utilize your body’s own platelets, which are in your blood, to kickstart or improve the body’s natural healing process. Platelets are packed with growth factors and nutrients. They are what helps your body heal. Blood, and platelets, in particular, are rushed to injury sites. But what happens when those injury sites are inaccessible by the bloodstream?
Injuries ranging from frays to tears are common in ligaments and tendons. However, these fibrous connective tissues have virtually no blood flow. It is impossible for platelets to reach these regions in the body. Injuries are left untreated and can lead to more injuries, pain with movement, and even immobility. Injecting platelets directly into these injured areas help your body heal in ways it cannot manage on its own.
This is where PRP and PRF step in to create the perfect healing storm that signals your body to help heal itself. PRP is a very popular treatment at many practices, but PRF is the real game changer. PRP can be either injected or applied during a variety of complementary treatments. However, PRF can only be injected due to it’s short “shelf life” and is best paired with dermal fillers, microneedling, skin tightening, and hair restoration treatments to strengthen the results.
Both PRP and PRF begin with a simple and surprisingly small blood draw. In most cases, a single tube is all that is required. Both PRP and PRF also use a centrifuge to spin the blood and separate the platelets. The big difference is that the spin rate is slower and gentler in PRF. Platelets are then able to be trapped in the fibrin, a type of protein matrix. However, the slower and gentler spinning helps preserve the integrity of the platelets. Research has shown that this may help optimize the injection. Although the processes of PRP and PRF are very similar, sometimes a minor shift can make a big difference.
How many injections a client will need varies wildly. Between one and three is common. It depends on the location of the injury, severity, how long ago the injury occurred, and of course the age and health of the client. One potential benefit of PRF compared to PRP is that clients may require fewer injections since the quality and preservation of the platelets is better.
Although healing injuries is one of the most well-known benefits of PRF, it can also be used to treat cosmetic conditions. The skin and hair can both greatly benefit from PRF injections. Skin is an organ, the largest in the body, and will respond to platelets just like any other part of the body. Using PRF on the skin can help build, plump, and beautify tissue. Common cosmetic sites for PRF includes around the eyes and mouth to create volume and minimize wrinkles.
Many clients combine cosmetic PRF sessions with microneedling and laser skin resurfacing. Microneedling creates tiny puncture wounds in the skin to encourage collagen growth, and PRF as an organic healer is a natural complement. Laser skin resurfacing can also stimulate collagen growth to minimize lines and wrinkles, correct hyperpigmentation and acne scars, and even treat freckles and moles.