The left temple of a woman's face with red spots from injections

Platelet-rich plasma treatment is on the rise! This beauty trend, which is growing in popularity, involves utilizing the healing powers of the various factors of a person’s blood, often to improve the appearance of the skin on the face.

Platelets are small structures within the blood that have no cell nucleus, unlike the white blood cells that fight infection. Platelets are crucial for the clotting response that is initiated when an injury occurs, like a cut. The platelets clump together at the site of injury, clotting the blood and preventing it from flowing freely.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PLP) is a concentrated solution of platelets and their associated growth factors. They are suspended in a small volume of plasma, the liquid component of blood.

Although PLP therapy is still unproven, its proponents claim that injecting PLP into fine lines on the face or into scars can result in healing of the damaged tissue. PLP is said to stimulate cellular growth and protein synthesis in these areas, resulting in repair of the damaged tissue.

What Can PRP Injections Treat?

  • Fine facial lines
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Deep wrinkles
  • Scars
  • Hair loss

What’s A PRP Kit?

The different components of whole blood (like red blood cells) lymphocytes and platelets can be separated into their component parts by placing the blood in a special tube and rotating it at very high speeds in a centrifuge. This separates the components of the blood by weight. This process purifies platelets, but only to a certain extent – they will still be contaminated by other parts of the blood that have the same weight.

This had inspired several companies to produce kits that, they claim, can enrich the concentration of platelets in a particular centrifuge fraction. These contain specialized filters and other technologies that bind only platelets and related cellular factors while the rest of the components of the blood wash through.

This is what you should look for when selecting a PRP kit:

  • Gel separators
    • Tubes that contain a gel that has a similar density to platelets in solution. This provides some enrichment of platelets, but not usually more than 1.5x normal.
  • Buffy coat
    • Some kits contain centrifuge tubes that produce a visible layer after centrifugation that contains 5 to 7 times more platelets than unenriched blood, called the buffy coat. This can be extracted from the tube by a qualified technician.
  • Buffy coat with double spin
    • This technique is the same as the buffy coat technique but contains an extra centrifugation step that further purifies the platelet concentration.
  • DrPRP system
    • Marketed by DrPRP, this kit contains several proprietary technologies involving specialized filter types and gels, and claims to provide an enrichment level 7 times higher than whole blood.

There are a wide variety of options available for PRP plasma preparations. Patients should consult with their physicians to discuss whether PRP injections are an appropriate form of therapy for the conditions they wish to ameliorate.

Some researchers believe that leukocytes, a component of the immune system and a type of white blood cell, can decrease the efficacy of PRP injections because they can stimulate an inflammatory response at the site of injection. Some PRP preparations involve an additional filtration step to remove leukocytes – the resulting preparation is called leukocyte-poor PRP (LP-PRP). Patients should ask their doctors if this treatment modality is right for them, or other products including Ellanse should be considered.