Treating and removing acne scars, or surgical scars has been a passion of mine since I became a Facial Plastic Surgeon. I believe helping people overcome embarrassment about facial scars and improving their appearance by reducing these scars can truly bring out the natural, confident you.
Traditional methods of scar treatment and improvement include steroid injection, dermabrasion, laser therapy or surgical revision. While all of these methods are generally effective, they do not always give the intended improvement in the appearance of the scar, and they all have significant downtime for recovery.
I am something of a geek when it comes to new technology, and I am continually seeking new technologies that can improve patient care and implementing them into my practice. To this end, I began researching a minimally invasive scar reduction method that could give a significant improvement in appearance with little or no downtime. I started learning about a therapy known as Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. This therapy is useful for facial scars caused by acne or surgery and keloids.
PRP has been used successfully and safely for many years to treat joint injuries in orthopedics and to speed recovery in oral surgery. In the field of plastic surgery, it has been used in healing wounds in burn patients and diabetics who are often prone to non healing sores and wounds. Most recently, there has been media buzz about a procedure known as the Vampire Facelift, which uses PRP to rejuvenate the face. This procedure can reduce the appearance of aging skin, reverse signs of skin damage, and aid in scar reduction.
Here is how Platelet Rich Plasma works: platelets are a natural component of your own blood. Their job is to help in making blood clot and in aiding the natural healing process by means of natural substances known as growth factors. Growth factors send messages to our body’s cells and tell them to start the healing process. By concentrating the platelets and placing them directly in a scar, a wound, or into aging skin we can encourage the body to heal itself.
The procedure itself is quite simple and quick. A small amount of blood is drawn from your arm and then placed into a centrifuge, which separates the blood into a portion of cells and a portion of plasma, which is a golden colored fluid which contains the platelets. The plasma is then placed into syringes and activated, which causes the platelets to release their healing growth factors. The serum is then injected into the scar facial area to be treated. Over the next several weeks, the body begins to naturally heal the area by laying down new, healthy tissue and brining in a rich blood supply.
The entire process takes about an hour and you can return to your life immediately without stitches, laser burns or any wound care.
Dr .Travis Shaw, MD is a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon serving the Greater Richmond, Williamsburg and Fredericksburg areas.