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What is Platelet Rich Plasma?

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PRP is an acronym:

P = Platelet
R = Rich
P = Plasma

  • PRP is defined as an autologous (tissues or cells obtained from the same individual) concentration of platelets in plasma with a greater concentration than in whole blood.
  • The term ‘PRP’ is used to describe blood Plasma with a high concentration of platelets.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is one of a number of modalities of treatment in the field of regenerative or rejuvenative medicine where it is used to aid the body to heal itself.

How does PRP work?

  • The Plasma contains platelets, platelet-derived growth factors and other bio-stimulating factors that play a key role in the body’s natural wound-healing response.
  • PRP is activated through contact with extracellular matrix.
  • The activated growth factors induce new cellular tissue regeneration including new collagen and new blood vessel formation.
  • PRP also has anti-oxidant effects.

New collagen formation

New blood vessel formation

Nerve growth facilitation

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments

Face

Neck and Jawline

Chest and Decolletage

  • Promotes Collagen fibre shrinkage and remodelling
  • Improvement of appearance of the skin surface
  • More youthful appearance
  • Reduction of fine lines
  • Promotes Collagen fibre shrinkage and remodelling
  • Improvement of appearance of the skin surface
  • More youthful appearance
  • Reduction of fine lines
  • Reduction in laxity of jawline
  • Promotes Collagen fibre shrinkage and remodelling
  • Improvement of appearance of the skin surface
  • More youthful appearance
  • Reduction of fine lines
  • Mild reduction in sun damage and pigmentation

Vaginal walls and introitus

Clitoris

Lichen sclerosus

  • Promotes Collagen fibre shrinkage and remodelling
  • Reduction of vaginal wall atrophy
  • Reduction in atrophy of vaginal entrance
  • Reduction of vaginal wall relaxation
  • Vaginal tightening
  • Sexual gratification improvement
  • Reduction of painful intercourse
  • Reduction &/or improvement of the appearance and texture of scars
  • Promotes Collagen fibre formation and remodelling
  • Small increase in size of clitoris
  • Increase in clitoral sensation
  • Improves the treatment of lichen sclerosus

Scar tissue

Hands

Hair restoration

  • Reduction &/or improvement of the appearance and texture of scars
  • Reduction of symptoms directly associated with a scar
  • Promotes Collagen fibre shrinkage and remodelling
  • Improvement of appearance of the skin surface
  • More youthful appearance
  • Reduction of fine lines
  • Emerging new treatment for androgenic alopecia
  • Increase in number and density of hair cells noted
  • Thought to act through promotion of new blood vessel formation and improved blood flow
  • May improve outcomes of hair transplantation

Joint medicine

  • Mainly performed by sports medicine specialists, interventional radiologists, rheumatologists and orthopaedic surgeons
  • Reduction in joint pain
  • Improvement in joint movement
  • Reduction of joint inflammation

What does Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment involve?

Draw blood

Blood is obtained from the best accessible part of the arms. Usually the antecubital fossa (in front of elbow). Sometimes the blood may need to be taken from the wrist or back of the hands.

Separate blood elements

The specialised tubes are placed into a dedicated centrifuge and spun at several thousand rpm (revolutions per minute). This separates the components of the whole blood.

Remove plasma

Plasma is removed from the tube leaving behind the red blood cells.

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Administer the PRP

The plasma containing the concentrate of platelets is administered back to the patient in the areas targeted for treatment.

Face. Neck. Jawline. Decolletage. Hands. Chest. Scalp, Vagina. Labia. Clitoris.

PRP treatment is an office procedure

This is an office, non-surgical treatment. Current research indicates that the risk of adverse events is extremely low when performed by well trained, experienced operators.

Preparation for treatment

7 days prior to treatment

Stop taking supplements that increase bleeding/bruising such as:

  • green tea, fish oils, Evening Primrose oil, garlic, Echinacea, St John’s wort, Vitamin E, Non-steroidal drugs
  • aspirin and other anti-coagulants(*only after discussing with your doctor to work out if you can stop, when to stop and when to recommence)

On the day of treatment

  • Before attending for treatment you can use some simple analgesia such as paracetamol but not any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Nurofen or Ibuprofen  (which interfere with platelet function).
  • For optimum platelet function and ease of taking blood, you need to be well hydrated, so drink plenty of water in the 4-5 hours prior to treatment.
  • After treatment, continue to drink water liberally and use simple analgesia (not non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) if required.
  • The use of your own blood means that there is no risk of transmitting infection.

Contraindications to Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment

Absolute contraindications

Relative contraindications

  • Current use of blood thinners
  • Heavy smoking
  • Current significant drug or alcohol abuse
  • Critically low platelet levels
  • Patient unwilling to accept risks
  • Acute or chronic infection
  • Some metabolic disorders
  • Uncontrolled thyroid dysfunction
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Some chronic skin diseases
  • Some systemic disorders
  • Low platelet count
  • Platelet dysfunction syndrome
  • Low blood fibrin levels

Risks of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment

Related to the collection of blood

Related to administering the treatment

Perception of outcome

  • Bruising
  • Inability to draw blood required for treatment
  • Pain
  • Infection at site at which blood is taken
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding that is not minor
  • Pain
  • Infection at treatment site
  • Whenever any treatment is applied there is the possibility that the recipient may not be happy with the outcome of the treatment.
  • A discussion about options for further treatment should take place with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the treatment take?

How many treatments will I need?

How long is the downtime?

This is dependant on the area and number of areas being treated. Generally, the approximate treatment time is between 45-60 minutes.

The recommended number of sessions is 3. The minimum interval between sessions is 4 weeks. Repeat treatments may be beneficial every 6-12 months depending on the indication for treatment and whether other treatments are being applied at the same time.

Normal activities of daily living can be resumed immediately. Strenuous activities should be deferred for about 24hrs. Sexual intercourse should be deferred for 2-3 days.

Is this done in the office or hospital?

How effective is the treatment?

Is there a Medicare rebate for the treatment?

This is an office procedure that does not require admission to hospital. To reduce discomfort associated with treatment local anaesthetic cream or ointment is applied between 40-50 minutes prior to treatment.

Current published evidence is limited but increasing all the time. It has been shown to be effective for :

  1. Reduction of vaginal atrophy
  2. Reduction of vaginal wall relaxation
  3. Treating very mild stress incontinence
  4. Skin rejuvenation all over the body
  5. Reducing joint pain

There is no Medicare rebate for the treatment.

Is there any pain associated with the treatment?

Can treatment take place at any time of the menstrual cycle?

How does PRP work?

The treatment is not painless but is well tolerated by the majority of patients. Use of simple analgesia such as paracetamol prior to attending is recommended. A cold roller can be used. Entonox (‘gas and air’) is also available for use.

The treatment cannot take place during the menstrual period.

Platelet-derived and other grow factors stimulate tissue collagen formation, new vessel grown and neural regeneration, promoting the bodies natural healing systems.

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