Platelet rich plasma (PRP) for cosmetic procedures has perhaps been oversold, according to an expert who spoke today at The Aesthetic Show in Las Vegas.
“PRP is not the be-all and end-all that solves every problem, for sure,” said Charles Runels, M.D., president of the Cellular Medicine Association. “There is still a need for everything out there, including lasers, surgery and photofacials.”
On the other hand, “PRP does things that nothing else does,” Dr. Runels said. “For example, PRP allows me to effectively treat scars like nothing else. And there is nothing I know of other than PRP that can regenerate nerve. In fact, there are close to 100 papers in PubMed that describe how PRP helps regenerate nerve.”
PRP has also been documented to increase neovascularization. “You achieve some color changes, due to the increased blood flow, that is difficult to attain any other way,” Dr. Runels said. “Overall, PRP is a good adjunct to a lot of procedures by accelerating healing and helping to prevent infection.”
Dr. Runels finds it useful to think of a hyaluronic acid (HA) filler the same way as constructing a mattress or a cushion, for which PRP supplies the upholstery for the cushion.
“This metaphor allows me to create shape with the HA, like with Juvederm or Restylane,” he said. “But I can increase blood flow and add to the volume of that shape by adding PRP on top of the filler. It is like polishing off your sculpture.”
For a true lifting effect that involves shaping with PRP, Dr. Runels believes a HA to hold the shape is mandatory.
Conversely, for acne scars, there are split-face studies that demonstrate even better results by adding PRP to microneedling with saline or vitamin C serum.
Similarly, combining PRP to laser therapy provides more rapid healing and enhanced outcomes.
Facial results with PRP are also applicable to the female genitalia; for instance, volume can be restored to the labia majora.
“This is a very safe, comfortable and quick procedure,” Dr. Runels said.
PRP is extremely forgiving, according to Dr. Runels.
“What grows is always natural,” he said. “Because what grows is dictated by the genetic code, by definition you cannot grow something that is not a natural shape to that person. This is in contrast to a filler that can result in unattractive shapes.”
Dr. Runels said there are over 9,000 published papers on PRP injections, without a single serious side effect being reported.
“There have been no serious infections, no granulomas, no necrosis and no neoplasia,” he said.