PRP for hair restoration is a cosmetic procedure which uses the patient’s own platelet rich plasma (PRP) to treat hair loss. The plasma is extracted from the patient’s blood and contains platelets and growth factors. After an injury or inflammatory condition, the growth factors assist with several stages of healing since they can signal the skin cells to function. PRP for hair restoration is also referred to as PRP therapy for hair loss and uses concentrated amounts of platelets and growth factors to cause the hair follicles to become active. PRP for hair restoration is still an experimental treatment. Each PRP machine produces a different concentration of platelets, varying amounts of red and white blood cells mixed in and varying concentrations of growth factors. To complicate the situation even more, physicians are not using PRP as a stand-alone treatment. They are mixing the treatment with known hair growth stimulants such as minoxidil, low level laser and finasteride. While it is true that wound healing growth factors found in PRP are also associated with the control of hair follicle growth cycling, there is currently no evidence that increasing the concentration of these growth factors in hair bearing scalp can help stimulate hair follicles and encourage new hair growth.
Patients that should be GOOD CANDIDATES for PRP for hair restoration are:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for PRP for hair restoration:
PRP for hair restoration is a simple non-surgical procedure that only takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on the treatment area. As part of the procedure, the doctor will draw some blood from the patient’s arm. The tube of blood is put into a centrifuge machine to rapidly spin the blood and split the cellular elements.
The red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma (the liquid portion with platelets and growth factors) will be separated. The doctor will then use a special microneedle to inject the highly concentrated platelet rich plasma, at approximately 5 times more platelets than in the blood, directly into the scalp at the hair follicle level. Each injection must be meticulously placed over the entire treatment area.
Performed with a Hair Transplant
PRP hair restoration can also be performed in combination with a traditional hair transplant surgery such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Robotic FUE – ARTAS. Many hair restoration surgeons feel that perioperative PRP accelerates wound healing and grafted hair regrowth. Once again, this has not been verified with placebo controlled data. The wound healing function of PRP has been more extensively studied in dentistry, orthopedics and plastic surgery with somewhat mixed results.
PRP treatments range in price depending on the geographic location of the office and how many sessions are needed to gain the desired outcome. This procedure can cost $700-$1500 depending on the amount of platelet rich plasma used in the procedure. The cost can also increase if it is performed in combination with a traditional hair transplant procedure.
RECOVERY after PRP for hair restoration is minimal to none. Patients may feel some mild discomfort and inflammation but this can be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
When it comes to DOWNTIME, there are no activity restrictions so patients can immediately resume their normal routine. It is not advisable to use a blow-dryer, straightener, hair dye or other chemicals until 72 hours after a PRP treatment.
Most physicians recommend 3 or 4 PRP Treatments at 4 to 8 weeks apart. Many physicians say patients can expect to see more shedding after the first few months and some hair growth 4 or 5 months after treatment. The hair will become more dense and lengthier as the treatments continue. To promote hair regrowth, and maintain the results, patients should use a topical treatment such as Rogaine on a daily basis. It should be noted that using extra Rogaine will not cause the hair to grow any quicker.
The limitations of PRP for hair restoration are:
The risks involved with PRP for hair restoration include:
Although PRP for hair restoration is still being studied, it is a popular procedure performed all around the world. PRP does not work for everybody and results are not guaranteed. A patient who is considering PRP for hair restoration should understand that it may not produce perfect results and the procedure requires additional study for its effectiveness and safety. Prospective patients should have realistic expectations about what this procedure may, or may not, accomplish.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - SP
Based on an exclusive interview with Carlos Puig, MD in Houston, TX