The human blood is made up of 4 components: plasma which is the base liquid, red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. Platelets help in coagulation which prevents incessant bleeding in case of injuries, and also helps repair damaged blood vessels.
However, platelets also contain growth regulating substances which activate and rejuvenate cell growth in the body. For this reason, they have been used to treat sports injuries in sports people. In the last decade or more, platelets have been used to induce hair growth in people with hair loss, and to rejuvenate facial skin growth. The latter procedure is called PRP Facelift or Vampire Facelift.
In this procedure, a vial (around 10 cc) of the patient's blood is drawn from his/her arm, and centrifuged for 8-10 minutes to separate the platelets (which float to the top), from the RBCs and WBCs (which settle at the bottom). The resulting top layer which is called platelet rich plasma or PRP is the raw material for the procedure.
Using a micro-needling tool, the cosmetic dermatologist will inject the PRP into the patient's face, either all over, or wherever a facelift is desired. The procedure lasts 20 minutes, does not require any anesthesia, and the patient can leave for home immediately after the procedure. To prevent swelling and numb any pain or discomfort, the doctor will apply ice on the patient's face immediately after the procedure. However in some patients, there may be swelling, redness and mild pain which will subside in 24 to 48 hours.
Since PRP is not a synthetic drug and the plasma is drawn from the patient's own blood, the procedure leaves no side-effects. PRP Facelifts are generally done as 3 sessions spaced 7 weeks apart. Best results show up only after 7 weeks and will improve with time, sometimes lasting up to 2 years or more. The best part of PRP Facelift is that, if you are already undergoing treatments such as Cosmetic Fillers, Botox or Laser Surgery, you can continue with the same even as you undergo PRP Facelifts. The combination helps you achieve optimum results.
Precautions to be taken
- Since the plasma is derived from the patient's own blood, if he or she smokes or drinks regularly, or has been sick recently, the results are muted
- Pregnant women, lactating mothers and women trying to conceive cannot undergo this procedure.
- So also, patients undergoing anti-coagulation treatment, suffering from auto-immune conditions, suffered or suffering from cancer, and those with implants in the concerned area cannot undergo the treatment.
The cosmetic dermatologist will assess all these thoroughly and go through your medical history before prescribing the treatment.
General note: Results vary from patient to patient.