Have you heard of PRP treatments? Or PRF? These treatments are growing in popularity, and for good reason. They can help reduce inflammation, rejuvenate skin, speed up healing and even help treat hair loss. To shed more light on this topic, we’re excited to introduce Erin Markham, RN, BSN, one of our in-house experts in PRP and PRF treatments.

What is PRF and PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments involve using a patient’s own blood that is spun down and processed to concentrate the platelets and growth factors, which are then injected back into the patient’s body. Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) injections are very similar to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. In fact, PRF is basically an improvement on the already amazing PRP treatments.

In both treatments we take a blood sample and put it in a centrifuge to spin out all the parts we don’t need (such as red blood cells and extra fluid) and keep the parts we are interested in, like stem cells, platelets, fibrin and white blood cells. These are all our body’s natural healing factors that repair damaged tissues and stimulate renewal. PRF differs in a few ways from PRP, but the most important is the quantity and quality of the healing factors.

How long does it take to see improvements?

PRF has about 10 times more of the concentrated healing factors than PRP and they stay active for much longer. In PRP, the healing factors are reabsorbed by the body in about 8 hours, whereas in PRF the active healing carries on for up to 2 weeks. Around the 2 week mark is when patients tend to notice that they just seem more refreshed and look more well-rested.

Everyone is different, but most people report continued improvement for the next couple of months with results from even one treatment lasting up to a year. I absolutely encourage patients to take a “before treatment” picture to refer back to.

Is anybody a candidate for it?

Almost everyone! People with bleeding disorders and/or on anticoagulants such as Warfarin/Coumadin are not eligible. One of the nice things about PRF is that it is autologous, meaning what is being injected into you came from you. Unlike in PRP, the vials we use do not contain heparin (a powerful anticoagulant found in PRP vials). People with heparin allergies can receive PRF treatments where they may have been excluded from PRP therapy.

What can one expect from a PRF under eye treatment?

First we put some topical numbing cream in the area we will be treating, such as under the eyes. Next, we draw a sample of blood from your arm. While the numbing cream is working, we put the blood samples into the special PRF centrifuge and let it spin for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Afterwards, using very small needles we inject two areas on your upper cheek with lidocaine to make sure the area is extra numb. These small numbing injections are the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. When the PRF is ready, we load it into syringes and inject it back into the undereye area using a small blunt-tip cannula. This is basically a tiny metal tube that isn’t sharp.

What’s amazing is that the healing starts right away! Patients often report the feeling of tingling where the PRF has been placed in the undereye area. This is the plasma, fibrin and stem cells doing their thing! Normally we don’t feel them at work because they are masked by the pain of an injury. In PRF treatment we have mobilized the immune system and growth factors to target the under eye area for healing, but without the trauma of injury.

What is PRF aftercare like?

During and right after the time of treatment, the undereye area will feel “full” and appear puffy from the PRF injection. This begins to subside within a few hours. For best results, patients should try not to use ice or over the counter pain remedies. This is so the immune system and healing factors have the opportunity to fully work. Patients should take it relatively easy for the rest of the day, which just means no strenuous exercise or extreme hot or cold exposure. Other than that, life can resume as usual.

In regards to downtime, everyone is different. Swelling and redness are mostly gone by the next day and will continue to resolve over a few days. We always try to avoid bruising, but anytime there is a needle going into tissue, a bruise can happen. Bruises are usually fully clear within 2 weeks. My rule of thumb for all aesthetic procedures is to give yourself a 2 week window before you’d want to have your picture taken.

How does it compare with other under eye treatments?

In my opinion, PRF is the best treatment out there for age-related under eye concerns. I use it on myself and I always recommend it in favor of under eye filler. Under eye filler can look great at first, but over time it can interfere with proper lymph drainage in this delicate area. The result is the eyes can look worse than before. With PRF, we tell the body’s own healing factors to step up and spend some extra time healing the area of concern. The effect is a rejuvenation of collagen and elastin without the artificial puffiness that filler can cause in this area. PRF is especially effective for age-related discoloration and poor texture.

Can people have this treatment at the same time as Botox or similar treatments?
Absolutely! As long as we are treating different areas of the face patients can have multiple treatments. Patients often get Botox, filler, and PRF injections at the same time.

Lastly, I want to mention that we recommend a minimum of 3 treatments spaced 1 month apart and then one yearly maintenance treatment thereafter for best results. That is for best results, and isn’t in everyone’s budget. Most people will see benefits from even one treatment.

PRP and PRF treatments have become a popular choice for people looking for a safe and effective way to heal and revitalize their body. With their ability to stimulate tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation, these treatments can help with a range of conditions, including reducing age-related under eye concerns. If you’re interested in boosting hair growth for thinning hair, rejuvenating your skin, or improving your under eye area, just give us a call!