Over the past several years, a new type of treatment for injuries and inflammation started making headlines, the PRP, or the platelet-rich plasma treatment. Some famous athletes, such as Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods have received this treatment to help them recover from a number of various injuries. So, what exactly is this new thing, how does it work, and in the end, is it effective?
The blood in our body is mostly contained of a liquid called plasma, but also of red cells, white cells and platelets. These last ones are, let's say, special factors in the blood, which are filled with proteins, responsible for their importance in blood clotting. The proteins found in the platelets are also a crucial factor when it comes to healing injuries since they promote cell growth. The treatment is done by injecting the PRP (plasma with the concentration of platelets 5 to 10 times richer than usual) into damaged tissue, resulting in inducing the body to grow new, healthy cells. This is the idea, but the treatment has still not been definitely scientifically proven to work. Still, some researches have shown the use of PRP treatment has led to significant improvement in conditions such as tendon injuries, acute injuries, postsurgical repair, osteoarthritis... Other than using it for treating various health issues, PRP treatment is being used for reducing hair loss and as a facial rejuvenating treatment.
The idea is to inject the PRP into the scalp in order to induce hair growth. A study from 2014 has proven the effectiveness in treating androgenic alopecia – male pattern baldness.
Approximately 30ml to 60ml of blood will be drawn most probably from your arm, after which the blood is put into a centrifuge which isolates platelet-rich plasma from platelet-poor plasma and red blood cells. This is the part when the PRP is drawn into a syringe and injected into areas of the scalp that require treatment. It is still unclear whether the mentioned treatment is effective. According to the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery: Although PRP has sufficient theoretical scientific basis to support its use in hair restoration, hair restoration using PRP is still at its infancy. Clinical evidence is still weak.
Thanks to it being popularized by some celebrities, this treatment (also known as vampire facials) is high in-demand today. The procedure is the same as with hair loss treatment. Some of the benefits that are claimed to be achieved after this procedure are: reduced wrinkles, sun damage, dark circles, scars, as well as tighter and more radiant skin. Although some patients swear to have achieved miraculous results, others state that their skin hasn't recovered even 5 days later, accompanied by some side-effects, such as bruising, swelling, itchiness, dryness, puffiness, etc.
To conclude, it is still unclear whether PRP is the new miraculous medicine for baldness and aging, as well as for many medical conditions, or is it merely a marketing propaganda made famous by celebrities. What we can advise you for sure is that, if you decide to try on this treatment, be sure to go to an expert because any treatment that includes penetrating the skin dermis leads to a risk of infection and skin damage.