• Dr. Henry Ngai

Benefits of Platelet Rich Fibrin in Cosmetic Procedures

Platelet rich plasma or PRP has been used for many years in the field of medicine for various applications. Platelets are obtained from the patient’s own blood which is spun at high speeds to yield a higher concentration of platelets. Platelets are an important element in body repair and haemostasis. It contains a long list of growth factors and cell mediators that attract fibroblasts and immunological cells that restore the usual healthy functions of cells.

There have been a few advances over the years in the area of platelet technology. For example, the use of platelet rich fibrin (PRF), which is pioneered by our colleagues in dentistry, is gaining more interest in the area of regenerative medicine and dermatology. PRF is different from platelet rich plasma, PRP, as it not only contains higher concentrations of platelets, but also higher concentrations of white blood cells that are beneficial for their anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, PRF contains blood mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) which play a vital role in the repair of tissue injury and cellular regeneration.

In contrast to PRP, PRF contains no foreign material at all. In the preparation of PRP, anticoagulant has to be added to the blood specimen to prevent clotting during the preparation of the platelets. In PRF, no foreign ingredient is needed in producing the final product. The patient is actually getting only autologous material which contain no other added chemical. The patient’s blood is spun in a special tube which prevents premature clotting, thereby allowing the PRF to stay in a liquid form for injection or i-PRF. PRF can also be used as part of CIT or collagen induction therapy. With a modified preparation process, PRF can also be used as a gel matrix for wound dressing as well as to be used in other medical or dental procedures.

PRF has other potential advantages over PRP. After injection or application of PRF, a fibrin matrix will be formed under the skin. Growth factors and other chemical mediators that are trapped in this structure will slowly be released to the surrounding tissues over a period of days. In PRP, on the other hand, all of the growth factors and chemical mediators are dispersed very quickly after application and do not stay long enough time in the local area to effect maximize benefits. Therefore, the healing and regenerative functions are potentially higher in PRF than in PRP. The anti-inflammatory potential of the PRF is higher because of the presence of blood leukocytes, or white blood cells. PRF is the preferred product, over PRP, to be used in treating the undereye hollows as well as in the treatment of premature hair loss.

PRF procedures are done every 3 to 4 weeks apart for a series of 3 to 5 sessions depending on the skin or hair condition. After the initial treatment series, PRF treatment can be repeated every 3 to 6 months. One can still expect the results to last for 9 to 12 months if no retreatment is being done.

For individuals who are afraid of injecting foreign materials such as dermal fillers, PRF would be a great alternative to test the waters with before going on to a more long lasting solution. PRF also enhances the results of other procedures such as thermal or non-thermal microneedling, laser skin resurfacing, dermal fillers as well as other collagen stimulator injectables such as PLLA or calcium hydroxyapatite.