Does PRP Hurt?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments are a widely used solution to speed wound healing after an injury. Initially, the procedure was only used to treat injured elite athletes. Nowadays, the treatment can also be used as a post-surgical solution to speed recovery. The therapy has also been recommended for some people with arthritis to boost joint function. PRP has also expanded beyond sports medicine to include cosmetic procedures, most notably the vampire facial. Many individuals wonder if PRP therapy is painful.


The power of blood

Administered as an outpatient procedure, PRP is a straightforward treatment that leverages a person’s blood to promote faster healing and improve patient outcomes. Human blood is composed of several items. While most individuals are aware of red blood cells that give the substance the noticeable color, 2 other components known as plasma and platelets are also present. Plasma is the liquid in the blood, and platelets are special blood cells essential for promoting blood clotting and healing when an injury occurs.

How is PRP performed?

Platelet-rich plasma treatment usually involves drawing a few tubes of blood. Once collected, the substance is run through a centrifuge to separate the plasma and the red blood cells. PRP for wound healing and post-surgical recovery normally requires targeted injections that leverage ultrasound to guide the needle to treat specific wound sites. In this case, the patient is given local anesthesia to reduce discomfort.

What to expect at the derm

Vampire facials are similar in format to PRP procedures for wound healing. However, rather than a sports physician, the injections are performed by a dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon. As with athletes, a sample of blood is drawn and processed in a centrifuge to separate the PRP from the other components. The solution is applied topically to just the surface of the face and then followed by micro-needling or hyaluronic acid injections to encourage collagen production. Since the process still requires tiny needle punctures, a mild topical anesthesia will be applied before the procedure starts to minimize pain.

Is PRP effective?

While most research points to PRP’s efficacy for wound healing and joint repair, PRP can also help people achieve a more youthful appearance. For cosmetic PRP, results are usually achieved within 2-3 weeks after the procedure, but some patients may need up to 6 months to achieve the full benefits. Whether to boost recovery after injury or for a younger appearance, PRP can be a great option. Using an anesthetic before the injection makes PRP a relatively painless procedure. Consider talking with a physician, dermatologist, or board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss all the available treatment options.

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