PRP: Platelet Rich Plasma
By: Angelica Ramirez Jackson MPAS PA-C, Halcyon Med Spa
Employing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as a regenerative therapy has been common in sports medicine for years. High-profile athletes like Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods are two who have used PRP therapies to expedite tissue healing, pushing this serious therapy with the catchy name into the media. Aesthetic medicine also has a use for PRP, harnessing its power to prompt tissue growth in the face and scalp as an excellent anti-aging and hair growth therapy.
Dr. Charles Runels first recognized the potential for PRP in aesthetics and perfected a process he trademarked as the Vampire Facial. As with any popular procedure, there are other methods that appear similar, but only the original process has been shown to produce viable platelets at levels necessary to produce desired results. I was personally trained by Dr. Runels, and share my knowledge of the process and positive outcomes as a Vampire Facial and Vampire Facelift provider at Halcyon Med Spa.
Platelets are cells in the blood that promote clotting and healing. They contain alpha granules which release growth factors responsible for activating multi-potent stem cells to create new tissue. The goal of the Vampire treatments is to isolate platelets, concentrate them, and inject them into the areas that need regeneration.
When these growth factors are injected into the face, it creates a controlled injury that triggers a natural wound healing process. Healing activates multi-potent stem cells, creating new tissue growth. This new tissue consists of collagen, fatty tissue and blood vessels that will appear as bright, smooth and more youthful skin. You are using the body’s own power to heal itself.
What sets it apart from other treatments?
As an injectable, PRP is unmatched for many reasons. Many clients come in looking for a solution to volume loss under the eyes. Around the eyes, hyaluronic acid filler has a higher risk profile due to the dense and sensitive vascular structure around the eye. As PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood, it poses no threat of vascular occlusion during injection in high risk areas such as the eye troughs.
It is my belief that results produced by PRP will last longer since the tissue regeneration is specific to the area being injected, rather than a product that the body will eventually metabolize.
What is the process?
The procedure starts with a simple blood draw. The blood is spun in a centrifuge, separating liquid from the red blood cells, which are then discarded. The remaining solution of plasma and platelets is spun again, concentrating the desired platelets. That final solution is resuspended in plasma, creating the platelet-rich plasma necessary for the procedure.
Platelets are extremely sensitive cells. This process by which they are isolated and prepared is the most sensitive part of the therapy and it happens before I even touch my patient’s face. Utilizing an inferior method, or failure to follow the original process developed by Dr. Runels opens a patient up to unsatisfactory results or adverse reactions.
Where can it be injected?
In the scalp, PRP is very effectively used as a treatment for baldness. PRP triggers regeneration in the hair follicle, which improves thin and brittle hair conditions for both male and female patients.
As mentioned, PRP is the safest treatment for hollows under the eyes that make you look tired. PRP can also be injected superficially under the eyes to thicken the dermis and minimize purple, dark circles. This is my most popular PRP treatment.
PRP is frequently combined with hyaluronic acid to treat areas where facial fat loss is problematic. This could be the temples, nasolabial folds, cheeks marionette lines, lips and corners of the mouth.
It can be used alone to break up scar tissue and soften old acne marks. In my practice, I see many adult patients who want to address scarring left behind by teenage acne. I personally received PRP injections and microneedling in my 20s to address superficial scars caused by nodulocystic acne.
If you have wrinkles at rest, shadows forming on the sides of your mouth or textural issues that seem to get worse, you may benefit from this treatment. Skin texture issues can be resolved with a combination of microneedling PRP into the dermis to minimize the appearance of pores and smooth the complexion.
How many treatments are needed?
A series of three treatments, spaced 4 weeks apart, is generally recommended for optimal results. A booster treatment may be necessary once a year after full correction is met, depending on the patient’s response. I like to tell my clients that they can enjoy the benefit of turning the clock back about five years without surgery, and aging from that point onward.
Hucksters, Fakes and Salesmen
Don’t be fooled by YouTube videos depicting red blood being poured on a patient's face; they’re going for shock value. Studies have shown red blood cells can cause inflammation and cell death, our goal is to promote healing with concentrated platelets. Red blood cells have no role in a real PRP Vampire Facial. To safeguard your health and investment, be sure that your provider is properly trained to provide this medical procedure. See vampirefacelift.com for certified providers.
Angelica Ramirez Jackson is a Board Certified Physician Assistant, trained in Dermatology and Master Injector at Halcyon Med Spa. She was awarded Most Loved Injector by Real Self. She is a Certified Vampire Facelift Injector, PRP Specialist, Member of the Cellular Medicine Association.
Halcyon Med Spa is solely owned and operated by Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich. All medical services are performed by Angelica Jackson PA-C and Heather Orr, a Family Nurse Practitioner and Allergan Master Injector. Visit her on Instagram @AngelicaJackson_PAC @HalcyonMedspa for more before and after photos of her procedures.