Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Its Uses
What is PRP?
PRP is a form of therapy which harnesses your body’s natural ability to heal itself. It has been in use for over a decade but has recently gained popularity due to media coverage of its use in high profile athletes with injuries, its recent promise at reversing hair loss, and for its use in the scary sounding vampire face-lifts!
How does it Work?
PRP uses injections of someone’s own blood to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints; or to promote cell growth factors within the area you are injecting. These injections are prepared by taking a few tubes of blood and spinning them in a centrifuge to separate the blood into its constituent parts.
- Plasma is the liquid portion of blood, composed mostly of water and proteins, and provides the medium for red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to circulate through the body.
- Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are the cells that cause blood clots and other healing functions. These are the cells we want to concentrate by spinning the blood.
These concentrated platelets are then injected directly into your body tissue, which release growth factors that stimulate the reparative cells your body produces.
Due to the fact that, apart from the person’s own blood, no other constituents are added to the injection, PRP is generally considered by those who want a more natural approach to healing their injuries, hair loss, or beauty regime. It is also not considered to have any major harmful effects for the same reason.
What do you need for PRP?
A centrifuge for spinning the blood to create platelet-rich plasma.
Safety equipment for handling (gloves, facemasks etc.)
A PRP kit. A number of companies have certified PRP kits, that are approved by regulators and are safe.
It is important to remember that purchasing equipment that contains anti-coagulants, or is made from certain materials can be dangerous and even lethal within the bloodstream, so make sure that you purchase wisely.
NOTE: Treatment should only be performed by trained specialists.
Some Best Practice Tips
- Samples should be spun at around 2,000 g’s of relative centrifugal force (RCF). This is not the same as RPM, so always check, as each centrifuge is different. If you spin your sample at higher speeds, red blood cells might be at risk of bursting, causing a knock-on effect and pop the platelet-rich plasma.
- A swing out rotor provides an even centrifugal force across the sample, so is preferable over a fixed-angle rotor, which may distribute the force unequally. The main difference is the price, swing-out rotors often require larger and more sophisticated centrifuges. You can see the difference between the C4000 (swing out) & D06 (fixed angle) in our product range.
- There are two techniques for separating blood cells from plasma. The first that was trialled was to use an anticoagulant to stop the blood from clotting. However, this can be dangerous, as anticoagulants like K2 EDTA do not break down in the blood and are not qualified for in-vivo use. Sodium Citrate is the heparin of choice, but the same warnings apply – cheap heparin may be dangerous and research into the effects of even good-quality heparin is very limited. The other technique is considered safer, which is to use a thixotropic gel. The gel is lighter than blood cells, but heavier than PRP, so sits in the middle of the sample, ensuring that the sample stays separated. This means that the sample is pure plasma without an additional chemical that would be injected into the blood.
PRP for Injuries
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection: How It Works | HSS
What is a PRP Injection? | Pure Sports Medicine
PRP for Hair-loss
PRP for Hair Loss: Efficacy, Safety, and Cost - Healthline
Platelet-rich plasma: Does the cure for hair loss lie within our blood?
Everything You Want to Know About a Vampire Facelift
What Is A PRP Facial? How Does It Work?