Platelet Rich Plasma (Vampire Facelift)
Risks and limits of the procedure
How long does it last?
Patients tell me that their skin feels better long after their treatment with visible effects being evident for around 6 weeks. The long term benefits to skin texture and appearance are as yet unknown. This also applies to the beneficial effects seen in the hair and after treating scars.
What are the risks?
Because platelet therapy utilises your own tissues and is used in the superficial tissues serious complications are extremely unlikely and published studies to date show that the procedure is very low risk.
Do I need a course of treatments?
When I see my patients and assess their tissues I tailor the number of treatments to their individual aims and findings. In general I use 4 treatments in the first year and then maintain the effect with 6 monthly treatments if needed after that. Some of my patients however, will have 1 or 2 treatments and then arrange further treatments as and when they feel it is necessary.
Is it painful?
Platelet therapy involves multiple injections with a very fine needle. The discomfort can be greatly reduced with our combination of local anaesthetic cream and spray. Once the treatment is complete there is usually no discomfort although your face may feel a little warm due to the extra blood flow to the skin.
Platelet therapy also known as platelet rich plasma (PRP) and popularised as the ‘vampire facelift’ is a treatment in which tiny particles present in your blood are harvested and injected into the tissues.
The main use is to improve the texture of the skin. When you are in your early 20’s, your skin sheds its outer surface frequently (every 4-6 weeks). By the menopause this has slowed down to every 6 months. The effects of sun exposure (even if you do not sunbathe), lifestyle, pollution, illness can all add to the loss of firmness and sheen of the skin – it becomes dry, dull and thin.
Platelets are small particles packed with growth factors and regenerative substances that are naturally present in our blood. When we are injured they come into contact with the air and become activated. This causes them to release their contents which stimulate healing and repair.
PRP has been researched and used for many years to treat conditions in which it was thought that repair and healing need a boost, for example chronic ulcers, tendonitis and scars.
More recently we are using it as an aesthetic treatment to improve the texture and glow of the skin. It can be used in the face, neck, chest and hands for this purpose.
PRP can also be used to prevent hair loss and increase hair growth and is also used to improve the survival of fat transferred from one part of the body to another.
There is a growing body of work supporting its use in all these conditions.
I use PRP extensively in my patients as part of their facial rejuvenation programme. Patients report a fresh and glowing appearance which typically lasts around 6-8 weeks. Treatments are carried out every 3 months in the first year and thereafter every 6 months.
I also use it around the fat when I am carrying out fat transfer to the face and in patients who are experiencing thinning or loss of their hair.
I carry out your treatment in my outpatients clinic. A small sample of your blood is taken and spun down in a centrifuge to separate the red cells from the remaining plasma. This process will also activate the platelets.
Local anaesthetic cream and spray is applied to your face (or wherever you are having the treatment). The plasma containing the activated platelets is then injected into the tissues. Some patients will also have Vitamin C serum applied to the face after their PRP.
The process takes around 20 minutes and you will usually see the effect immediately. There is rarely any significant swelling but you will notice redness of your face which lasts a few hours. Bruising can occur but is usually very small areas and settles over the next few days.
At your consultation I will examine your face for facial aging and put together a treatment plan of which platelet therapy may be the sole component or one of many components. Typically patients who are undergoing platelet therapy are also having Botox treatment in the upper third of the face, fat transfer, Vitamin C as a topical serum and fillers to the lips.
Other patients will have platelet therapy to improve their skin quality after repositioning surgery such as face lifting, brow lifting, neck lifting and eyelid lifting. At your consultation I will formulate a treatment plan that is bespoke to you and the aging process in your face.
Once your treatment is complete a soothing moisturiser is applied. There is normally very little swelling and bruising following platelet therapy and most patients can resume their normal routine after an hour or two. but I do advise you to only use newly-bought make-up if you are going to apply it on the day of your treatment to avoid bacterial contamination.
I will arrange to see you a week later to check that all is well and then when you return for subsequent treatments.