Recent medical advancements have led to a newfound understanding of how doctors can use the body’s own rejuvenating properties to revive the appearance of the skin. Dr. Chicago in Chicago, IL is part of this movement. We harness the power of a proven, effective, medically advanced treatment option known as platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, to address a variety of cosmetic and medical concerns. We want everyone to enjoy this treatment’s remarkable restorative power in addressing hair loss, the signs of aging, and skin issues.
The Basics of PRP
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Our blood contains platelets which are comprised of proteins called growth factors. These proteins can rejuvenate cells and heal tissue, and platelet-rich plasma is a highly concentrated dose of the proteins derived from a patient’s own whole blood mixed with white blood cells and stem cells.
These platelet-rich cells contain many revitalizing benefits and are responsible for the function of natural healing and rejuvenation. PRP therapy is a treatment that uses the natural healing ability of platelet-rich plasma to achieve remarkable results.
Platelet-rich plasma has a long track record as an effective and safe treatment for a wide variety of different concerns. Doctors originally used it during open-heart surgery and maxillofacial surgery in the 1980s. It then made its way into the orthopedic world to help athletes heal from injuries. Basically, the treatment speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues and cells. Today, its benefits can improve conditions ranging from facial rejuvenation to hair loss and much more.
What Happens During Treatment?
Blood plasma contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that contribute to essential growth functions and healing processes. Platelet-rich plasma injections involve withdrawing a patient’s blood, processing it so only the enriched cells remain, and injecting it back into the skin. Preparing for the therapy therefore requires a routine blood draw, after which a health professional runs the extracted blood through a centrifuge to separate, collect, and concentrate the platelet-rich cells. This creates a serum from the platelet-rich plasma for injection.
Platelets are catalysts for activating restorative processes and cell proliferation. When the platelet rich blood is injected back into the tissue in need of healing, it stimulates the body’s reparative cell production. Once the blood is integrated into the treatment area, the cells begin their natural function of healing and restoration. The treatment can help restore damaged skin, boost the healing process for wounds and injuries, and serve as an anti-aging solution.
PRP Injection Cost
The cost for injections can range from $500 to $2,000 according to Scientific American magazine, though estimates based on 190 patient and doctor reviews reported a range of from $25 to $3000, with the average cost estimated at somewhere around $1,100.
A Range of Applications
What Are the Conditions Addressed by This Treatment?
The healing factors found in a person’s blood can be used to provide many benefits because they naturally activate biological healing responses at a cellular level. This therapy has numerous benefits, and the replenishing power of the treatment can address a variety of conditions in a completely natural way.
These injections are used to combat hair loss, improve skin texture, diminish skin conditions such as acne, pigmentation, and sun damage, and reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and age spots. They can also be combined with other procedures, like lasers or fat transfer.
Because it is non-surgical, side effects are extremely limited and there is little to no downtime. The entire procedure takes only about 10 to 30 minutes, and since the serum is derived from a person’s own body, there is no risk of an allergic reaction. The treatment can improve a number of other aesthetic or cosmetic concerns including:
- Under-eye bags
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Sagging skin
- Dull skin
PRP for Hair Restoration
Platelet-rich plasma therapy can help those who have balding or thinning hair. Unlike other hair loss treatments, it gets right to the main culprit of hair loss—the hair follicles. Its primary objective is to slow down or halt the progression of hair loss, though some patients will experience slight hair regrowth.
Injected straight into areas of the scalp with thinning hair, PRP is able to heal damaged or aged hair follicles by renewing cells and tissue. Once injected into the scalp, the platelet-rich plasma increases blood flow to the hair follicles, stimulates dormant follicles to grow, triggers the growth of new follicles, and lengthens the active phase of hair cycles to promote hair growth. Studies suggest this increases the number of hair follicles and the thickness in the hair shaft. The treatment is virtually painless and can lead to significant improvements in hair thickness and fullness.
Does It Really Work?
Research carried out on the results of these injections have found those results to be generally positive in men as well as women. It is considered a safe, relatively inexpensive, less invasive alternative to surgery, and the doctors who perform it attest to its ability to stimulate the follicles and slow down the rate of hair loss. In some cases, it has even regrown hair.
In a 2016 study published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, researchers tested PRP in 25 people with hair loss. After three treatments spaced one month apart, there were improvements in the number and thickness of hairs. An additional study found improvements in hair counts, thickness, and root strength, and a 2019 review of studies found that, overall, both men and women have positive results in terms of increased hair thickness and regrowth.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
Repeated injections are required to see the results of treatment. The exact number depends on factors such as age and the amount and pattern of hair loss. Typically, patients start with one injection every four to six weeks for three to six treatment months. They will then space their appointments out to once every three to four months for up to two years. Doctors sometimes combine platelet-rich plasma with a topical treatment, like Rogaine or Propecia. Combination therapy with oral or topical minoxidil, such as Rogaine, usually enhances the results.
Hair restoration as a result of the injections depends a lot on gender, age, genes, hormones, and other factors, including the amount of hair one has to begin with. Some amount of hair must already be present. If an individual has a large, completely bald spot, the treatment will not work.
There are many variables involved from one person to another, so there is no way to predict for sure whether the treatment will work on a particular individual, and if so, how much better the patient’s hair will be. Doctors recommend allowing four months to see a difference. If treatment has not helped by then, it is probably not going to.
Hair Loss Treatment and PRP Injection Cost
Because this is a non-surgical treatment and is not guaranteed to grow new hair, treatment for hair loss costs significantly less than hair transplant surgery. The actual cost will depend on the provider’s location and level of experience as well as the number of treatments to be administered. Maintenance treatments should also be factored into the budget.
PRP Used for Facial Rejuvenation
Because PRP injections can prompt the skin to begin producing more of the beneficial substances that stave off the signs of aging, platelet-rich plasma is also used in combination with fillers as a beauty therapy. This treatment reduces the prominence of fine lines and wrinkles and restores lost facial volume.
A PRP Facelift combines injections of hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Juvéderm or Restylane with platelet-rich plasma to attain better results than either the plasma or hyaluronic fillers can get on their own. When injected into the skin, the platelet-rich plasma attracts stem cells to the area and stimulates them to grow into new subcutaneous tissue. This fills out the face and decreases wrinkles and sagging, similar to the re-inflating of a balloon.
What to Expect
Injection techniques vary. Certain doctors will inject the filler first followed by injections of platelet-rich plasma, whereas others will inject the platelet-rich plasma first. The fillers create immediate volume, so patients see a difference right away.
Results improve in a couple of weeks as the effects of the platelet-rich plasma start to kick in, and the skin continues to improve for up to three months as collagen and elastin production picks up and blood flow increases. Over time, patients typically see 10-15% more volume in the face, with benefits lasting up to two years.
Facelifts and PRP Injection Cost
The cost of a PRP Facelift will depend on the kind and quantity of fillers your doctor uses as well as experience level and office location. Typically, a PRP Facelift costs just over $1,000.
PRP With Fat Transfer
Some doctors combine the use of platelet-rich plasma with fat injections. For example, a provider might use a technique known as autologous lipocyte micronized injection, or ALMI, to harvest fat and use the body’s own cells to stimulate deep regeneration of tissues and the important biologic elements that reverse aging, such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, and capillaries.
The fat cells then work to generate fullness, most often to add plumpness to sunken, drawn cheeks or to aging hands. Doctors often combine platelet-rich plasma in conjunction with fat transfer to further stimulate the tissue to form more blood vessels, collagen and elastin, hyaluronic acid, fatty tissue, and the matrix that holds cells together and thickens the skin. You will need to talk to your provider for information on PRP injection when combined with fat transfer.
Does It Really Work?
Both the literature and the experience of doctors supports the claim that fat grafting can be enhanced with platelet-rich plasma. For treating issues such as acne scars or skin atrophy, fat grafts can be emulsified or broken down to a fine particle size which then permits injection of the particles along with PRP directly into the skin where the effect can be more significant—a process believed to result in more of a “stem cell” effect, which can repair, restore, and rejuvenate scarring or atrophy of the skin.
Come See Us
If you are concerned about a condition such as hair loss, dull skin, or natural signs of aging and want to know more about PRP’s healing and replenishing applications, contact Dr. Chicago in Chicago, IL today and schedule a consultation. Our caring staff will be happy to book your appointment so you can begin exploring our amazing treatment options.