Hair Loss Treatment Using Platelet-Rich Plasma

Apart from red blood cells and white blood cells, our blood also contains cells known as platelets.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is concentrated blood plasma that contains approximately five times the number of platelets found in normal circulating blood. The function of platelets is to promote healing. Platelets contains growth factors that promote regeneration of the cells in the body.

KTRV-TV video explaining PRP for hair restoration:

PRP comes from the patient’s own body. It has no potential for causing a foreign-body immunologic reaction. PRP is immunologically neutral and poses no danger of allergic, hypersensitivity or foreign-body reactions.

PRP has been used in medicine for the last two decades. PRP has attracted attention in various medical fields, including plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery and dermatology. PRP has been tested during facelift and hair transplantation to reduce swelling and pain and to increase hair density.

To Reinvigorate Dormant Hair Follicles

The use of PRP to treat hair loss has the potential to change the way hair loss is treated around the world as it’s a revolutionary, new treatment for hair loss. Investigators conducted a study of PRP effect on dormant non-transplanted hair follicles. If the hair follicles or hair roots are healthy, the growth of the hair is healthy. Hair follicles survive on the nutrition they get from blood supply. If we introduce platelets by administering PRP in the area of damaged hair follicles, it amplifies the body’s naturally occurring wound healing mechanism.  Platelet growth factors can “wake up” dormant hair follicles and begin the production of new hair. Enhanced hair growth and hair diameter was noted over the next 4 months, with a fall-off in enhanced hair growth after 4 months. Some doctors around the world believe PRP can be used to stimulate the growth of hair follicles preventing hair loss

Procedure PRP therapy is performed in 3 stages:

  1. 60 ml of blood is collected from your vein. The concentrated platelets have been separated from your normal whole blood.
  2. Topical anesthesia is applied on the portion of the scalp where PRP will be injected. To prepare the scalp for PRP application, a special micro needling roller device is used.
  3. Immediately, the highly concentrated PRP is injected in many different areas of the scalp. Occlusive dressing is then applied on the scalp and photodynamic treatment on the injected area is carried out to further enhance the effects of PRP. Mild discomfort is expected during the treatment. You can return to your normal activity almost immediately, but your scalp needs protection from the sun and excessive irritation.

There are many benefits of using PRP treatment to promote healing for hair growth. Highly concentrated growth factors in the form of platelets have been shown to generate new hair growth, thicken thinned out hair, and make hair transplants grow thicker and healthier. However, not everyone is an ideal candidate to undergo this procedure. Patients who have an active infection in the scalp, history of a viral infection like shingles, diabetes, any clotting disorder, or patients who are on blood-thinning medications like aspirin and immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporine are not candidates for this procedure. Also, if hair follicles are completely lost, this procedure is less likely to help patients. Patients may need to opt for hair transplant surgery.

The procedure takes one to two hours depending on amount of hair loss. Since an inflammatory process is initiated at the wound site, there may be mild pain or discomfort felt by the patient at the site where PRP is injected. Patient is not advised not to take any anti-inflammatory medication since it may interfere in the natural healing process of PRP. Patients generally have to receive this treatment multiple times before they can see any results. However, some patients may only have to receive this therapy once a year. The injected area may have mild swelling; it may even be tender to touch. Swelling may go away in few hours after the procedure while tenderness may go away in a couple of days. Prognosis is generally good, but it varies from person to person. Most of the clinics practicing this therapy have reported almost 80% success rate.

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