If you are feeling a bit cautious about micro needling with and without PRP, we have seven facts that will make you reconsider and make you want to dive in. Let’s start with a few basics.
Micro Needling is not a new fad. The technique has been around since the 1990s so there are about 27 years of medical knowledge stemming from actual patient experience using the technique to heal all kinds of skin conditions. There are new applications happening, though.
What exactly is PRP? PRP is an abbreviation for platelet-rich plasma. Let’s break that phrase down a bit more.
Plasma is the colorless liquid part of the blood that contains blood cells and other components.
Platelets are the tiny, irregular, disk-shaped components found in human blood that stick to each other and to epithelium (thin skin tissue) to form clumps that assist the body in blood-clotting.
Platelet-rich plasma is your blood plasma that has a higher concentration of platelets than normal. The platelet-rich plasma has a high concentration of growth factors.
So, PRP is a treatment where the physician places your platelet-rich plasma at the site of an injury to make tissue grow and heal faster.
How does the doctor get the platelet rich plasma? It’s not terribly difficult really but works like magic. Your doctor will draw a small amount of your blood, spin it in a centrifuge which separates the whole blood into three layers: platelet-poor plasma, platelet-rich plasma, and erythrocites. The doctor then combines the PRP with your blood to make the PRP injections.
Because of its healing properties, doctors are investigating the use of PRP in surgical treatments for the jaw and face, orthopedic surgeries, treatments of the cardiovascular variety, and soft tissue ulcers.
The doctor will either inject the PRP or stitch PRP into the area treated.
So, micro-needling with PRP means the physician inserts my PRP using tiny needles? That’s the general idea. In micro-needling without PRP, the physician pricks the skin, such as a scar tissue covered surface, with tiny needles to stimulate collagen production. It is a minimally invasive procedure that is nearly painless.
In micro-needling with PRP, the physician pricks the skin to stimulate collagen production and then inserts your body’s platelet rich plasma to stimulate the normal growth of new skin cells, such as those needed to smooth out scar tissue. The interesting thing is that the growth stimulated by PRP looks just like normal growth pattern and not like the thick skin growth of scar tissue.
Is this treatment only useful in smoothing scar tissue? No. It has been useful in different ways:
- acne scars
- burn scars
- alopecia hair loss
- oral surgery
- soft tissue following plastic surgery
- most recently, sports injuries like tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, hamstrings, quadriceps, and basically any tendon or ligament that suffers injury but not completely torn.
This all sounds great but you haven’t mentioned side effects? There is the potential for few minor side effects:
- slight pain
- bleeding (pinpoints of blood at needle sites)
- reddening of the skin
Since it is your own blood that’s used in the treatment, the chances you will experience serious adverse reactions are very small. As with other types of injections, the chance you experience infection or damage to nerves or tissue are about the same as cortisone injections.
So, how effective is micro-needling with PRP treatment? How you will experience the effectiveness of PRP treatment depends on several factors:
- your general health
- the body part treated
- whether the injury developed over time or was an acute, sudden injury
As of 2015, the anecdotal evidence seems to point to PRP treatment’s effectiveness for injuries to the elbow area and doctors are researching its effectiveness in other orthopedic treatments.
To learn more about PRP injection therapy, read the news-medical.net article entitled “Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Therapy”.