Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, has been used for years as a successful treatment method in orthopedics, plastic surgery, and sports medicine. Platelets are one the primary components of blood, and promote cell growth and regeneration.
When it comes to hair loss, according to one Harvard Medical School theory, platelets injected into the scalp to reach the bottom of the hair follicle may stimulate a specialized population of cells, named dermal papilla cells, which play a critical role in hair growth.
How Does PRP Therapy Work For Hair Loss?
Although they are known for their coagulating properties (to stop bleeding), platelets also release growth factors that recruit reparative cells and revitalize and heal tissues.
In other words, platelets are components of the blood that help to rejuvenate and heal soft tissue throughout the body. For this reason, PRP injections have a long history of success in treating sports injuries, arthritis, tendinitis, and other painful conditions.
In cosmetic medicine, PRP injections are used to treat specific areas of the skin to promote collagen growth and regenerate tissue. In hair restoration therapy, PRP results have been very promising and offer an effective method to promote hair regrowth and thickening for a majority of patients.
Your appointment will begin with a simple blood draw, just like a routine blood test. Then, using a proprietary technique, platelets and plasma will be separated and concentrated into a serum that will be ready to be injected into the scalp.
If you get routine blood tests done by your doctor, PRP treatment won’t be too different from what you are already used to.
The number of required treatments will depend on the patient’s condition and improvement goals. Four treatment sessions are generally recommended, spaced four weeks apart.
Who Should Use PRP Treatment?
PRP treatment has proven to be effective for both female and male patients. Additionally, the following two groups have been observed as the ones getting the best results from the treatment:
- Those suffering from androgenic alopecia, a condition also known as male/female pattern baldness.
- Those suffering from more recent hair loss. This is because the longer your condition persists, the less effective the treatment will be, though it may still produce some beneficial results.
How Safe Is PRP Hair Treatment?
Since PRP therapy uses the patient’s own blood, there’s very little chance that it could manifest in any severe side effects for the patient, according to Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Furthermore, PRP serums are naturally autologous and biocompatible with the patient, so there’s little risk of the body rejecting the treatment outright. This can also give PRP hair treatments a higher rate of success with making the desired changes in the patient.
What Result Can Be Expected?
Results begin to show 3 to 4 months after starting treatment and generally continue to improve with time as the hair cycle progresses.
The human hair cycle includes phases of growth (anagen), regression (catagen) and rest (telogen). During each anagen phase, follicles produce an entire hair shaft from tip to root.
PRP treatment starts new cycles of growth.
The first result that patients usually note is a decrease in hair shedding, followed by early hair regrowth and increased length of hair. Results can be slow, but noticeable. So think of it as a long term investment rather than short term.