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PRP for Hair Loss Treatment
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) for Hair Loss is now the latest trend in hair regrowth and hair loss treatment. PRP therapy for men’s and women’s hair loss is becoming more and more common and is proving to be effective in correcting hair loss when done correctly.
Even though PRP therapy has been around since the 1980’s, doctors only started using it recently as a treatment for certain types of alopecia. Many user experiences have noted good results and the popularity of the procedure is growing rapidly.
PRP for hair loss is a non-surgical procedure that utilizes the stem cells and growth factors from the patient’s own blood to trigger the growth of hair from resting or miniaturized hair follicles. The first step involves drawing the patient’s blood into a 20-22cc specialized tube that is then spun down in a centrifuge for 15 minutes.
The centrifuge will separate the platelets from the rest of the blood. The final product is plasma that has been separated from the white and red blood cells. This plasma is then set aside and gravity allows the platelets to drop out of suspension and collect at the bottom of the tube.
This denser area of platelets in the plasma called Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. This area will typically have 3 -5 x concentration of platelets and is the key ingredient to success in any PRP procedure. The platelet poor plasma or PPP is usually collected from the top of the tube and discarded; or, in some cases saved for micro-needling treatment post PRP injection.
The platelet-rich plasma then is injected back into the scalp using one of two procedures:
- Subdermal: PRP is injected into the subcutaneous fat layer of the scalp using a longer needle with less injections; or,
- Dermal: PRP is injected into the scalp into the dermal layer using a shorter needle and higher number of injections.
Often times this procedure can be assisted with the use of a cell matrix or A-cell in the PRP or followed by micro needling or both.
This therapy is mostly used as a growth stimulant hair growth procedure and typically requires multiple procedures over a course of 3-6 months to begin to show results. It is important to note that PRP is not FDA approved for hair growth and there are numerous methods of delivering PRP to scalp. It is important to review what type of procedure your physician may be practicing. You should discuss this with your physician prior to starting a course of treatment and see his or her before and after photos.
PRP for Hair Restoration and Hair Transplantation: PRP can be used in hair transplant surgery to expedite post-operative recovery. During a hair restoration procedure, some physicians will have the individual hair transplants grafts dipped in a patients PRP prior to being placed by into the patient’s scalp. This will potentially provide a greater possibility of healing and promote a better outcome.
Why PRP Has Shown Results for Hair Loss Treatment
Platelet-rich plasma has approximately five times the number of platelets found in ordinary blood. These platelets have:
- Platelet-derived growth factor
- Transforming growth factor
- Insulin-like growth factor 1
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Keratinocyte growth factor
All the above have a positive impact on the growth of hair. Platelets stimulate the healing of wounds and cellular repair and when placed inside the scalp it seems to be able to repair areas of hair loss. Currently, there are clinical studies underway to prove its effectiveness, but those studies still will not be complete until 2019. There have been some previous studies in mice shows that PRP stimulates dermal papillae. One similar study that was done on mice to assess the effect of activated PRP on hair growth in vivo. After one injection every three days for fourteen days, diffuse darkening was noticed. Mice that were injected with activated PRP showed an almost complete hair regrowth as compared to those that were not.
When it comes to treatment of hair loss, PRP procedure cost varies depending on the type of procedure, if micro-needling or A-cell is included, and the total number of treatment needed. The average cost of one treatment is between $1000-1500 and one requires at least two-three sessions. The more dramatic your hair loss potential the more procedure necessary.
PRP is not a permanent fix. Maintenance of one treatment per year is usually required to maintain results. Additionally, androgenetic alopecia is caused by the hormone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and PRP doe not to do anything to mitigate the effects of this hormone. DHT Blockers and additional hair loss product may still need to be used for an optimal long term result.
Despite some limitation, PRP injections have shown a positive therapeutic effect on both male and female hair loss without major side effects. The potential for using this therapy to boost hair loss thickness and density as a standalone treatment or after a hair transplant is good.
Safety of PRP
PRP for hair loss and the scalp is considered very safe because:
- PRP therapy is immunologically neutral and has no danger of allergies, hypersensitivity or foreign-body reactions.
- PRP is a sterile technique has to be used at each stage of PRP preparation and application. PRP is quite useful in case a patient has an underlying medical condition that makes him or her prone to infection.
- PRP has a very short period of inflammation at the sites of wounds thus reducing any possible injection.
The use of PRP does not require FDA approval, however in the US, the device used to prepare PRP must be approved by the FDA. Currently the FDA has not approved PRP as a medication for hair restoration.
On its own, PRP is also used in hair restoration that produces great results. Using thin needles, a patient’s own PRP is injected into the scalp. The growth factors within the blood cells then go to work and trigger growth of hair. This therapy is also suitable for both men and women. The end result of this therapy is a fuller and healthier looking hair.
At times, PRP may be uncomfortable and painful so topical anesthetic or cooling spray is often used. There is virtually no downtime following a procedure and you should be able to be back to work the next day will no noticeable trace of the PRP injections.