Happy Halloween! To start the day off in typical Halloween fashion, we decided to write something a little more thematic - today, we’re talking about the ‘Vampire Facial’. No, it’s not all that scary - but blood is definitely involved.
This facial is also known as the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment, which is essentially a great option to give a biological boost to the healing process for bone and soft tissue injuries. It’s popularity has been skyrocketing recently, most notably amongst professional athletes.
So where does the ‘vampire’ aspect come in? Well, PRP is produced from the person’s own blood. It is a concentration of one type of cell, known as platelets. If you can recall your high school biology lessons, you may remember that platelets are the handy cells that are responsible for blood clotting. Together with our liquid plasma, the two play key roles in recruiting new cells, multiplying them and ensuring they are specialized for healing.
After a blood sample is taken from the patient, it’s placed in a centrifuge that separates the blood into all these components. The platelet rich plasma is then collected and treated, before it is injected using guided ultrasound into the patient to an injured bone or soft tissue, such as a tendon or ligament. It’s important to note that patients should avoid exercise for a short period of time, before beginning a rehabilitation exercise program. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped at the time of treatment.
After using this test in animal models, it has been proven to be effective. That’s why it can be used for a variety of conditions, such as acute and chronic tendon problems. However, the testing has still been limited and more studies are needed to prove its effectiveness and research the best ways to improve or speed healing.
In my practice, one of the uses we have for it is that applying it after laser treatment, as it really helps to calm the skin. Below is a photo of me when PRP was applied after my laser treatment. When looking at the photo, the eye on the right was treated with PRP immediately after laser treatment whereas the one on the left was not. You can see how PRP calms the skin, and we look forward to even more applications of it in the future.
Yes, it looks scary!