Platelet Rich Plasma, PRP Therapy- What is it?

Platelet Rich Plasma – What is it?

Platelet rich plasma refers to a purified portion of your own circulating blood. Throughout our entire blood system, our blood cells carry infinitesimal amounts of highly potent healing factors, healing co-factors, growth factors, immune system proteins, and maintenance proteins. Platelet rich plasma is created by drawing a sample of blood from a patient using a small peripheral intravenous stick. Blood is atraumatically withdrawn from the patient, and then transferred sterilely to a sterile, biologic centrifuge. The sample is cycled using a proprietary formula, and a concentrated layer of all of the aforementioned healing and immune factors is created in a backdrop of platelet cells. Platelet cells are used to create a blood clot after we are hurt, and within each platelet cell exists a structure called an alpha particle. Within each alpha particle, there is a very large concentration again of healing factors, growth factors, and immune factors. The plasma is then enriched with organic calcium chloride, and thrombin (a blood coagulant), which causes the alpha particles to release all of their constituent healing factors.

PRP Therapy is Liquid Healing

In the end, we have a concentrated, plasma type fluid that represents liquid healing, literally. When obtaining the Ocean Drive® Facelift with Dr. Durkin, we produce your platelet rich plasma after you have entered a comfortable, twilight anesthesia. After completing the facelift internally, Dr. Durkin applies a concentrated dose of platelet rich plasma to your skin. First, we aerosolize your PRP it into a fine spray and then, spray your PRP to coat the entire undersurface of your skin as well as, the superficial layer of the SMAS and platysma. This fine spray acts to markedly reduce swelling, bruising, and redness caused during surgery, while secondarily acting as a “biologic glue”, promoting a soft, natural interface internally between the skin and SMAS. Platelet rich plasma has been used at our institution for over fifteen years, and we are convinced that it improves our outcomes while simultaneously reducing postoperative recovery time.

Platelet Rich Plasma Healing Factors

Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF)

Epidermal growth factor (EGF)

Fibroblast growth Factor (FGF)

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2)

Interleukin 8 (IL-8)

Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF)

Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)

Transforming Growth Factor- Beta (TGF-B)

Uses of Platelet Rich Plasma

While we have utilized platelet rich plasma for over 20 years at our facility, the power and utility of platelet rich plasma is now being utilized widely in orthopedic surgery as well. Platelet rich plasma injections have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve tissue repair, and improve muscle and joint function. Specific areas where injections appear to offer benefit include the hip, knee, wrist, and thumb joints.

Platelet Rich Plasma in Vampire Facelift

PRP is also the driving force behind the so-called “Vampire Facelift”.   In a vampire facelift, blood from the patient is harvested, and PRP is purified. It is then introduced into the deep dermis via the Rejuvapen® microneedling device, where it interacts and improves overall skin quality. While we do offer the “vampire facelift” at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery, the results of it as compared to using synthetic healing factors as listed above is the same, but without the blood draw, and the discomfort of an IV stick. In short, we do not see a clinical difference between standard, non-invasive methods and the use of PRP with microneedling. Lastly, we feel that the term “vampire facelift” is grossly misleading, as there is no injection present that can even come close to reproducing the outcomes of a surgical facelift.


In summary, platelet rich plasma is one of the cornerstones of our success when it comes to surgical facelift procedures. By working as an internal integration matrix, PRP helps to ensure that we are able to consistently produce natural facial aesthetic results during surgery. As we continue to study platelet rich plasma, we fully expect it to play a role in other rejuvenative therapies in the future.