Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an all-natural product that has been used in orthopedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery for the last twenty years. It has been found to have remarkable properties with regards to improving soft tissue healing. Platelets act as the first line of defense against injury- releasing growth factors and modulators that start the healing cascade. There are numerous articles in the medical liturature on its use in procedures ranging from ACL repairs to muscle tears. Recently studies have shown that with male pattern baldness, treatment with PRP can increase hair shaft thickness and density. While it may not give you the hair coverage of your twenties, when used with current therapies such as Minoxydil or Propecia, it can make a very nice difference in your overall appearance.
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The procedure itself is simple. It involves one or two vials of blood being drawn and the platelets and plasma separated from the rest of the blood products with a centrifuge using the Eclipse system. This system concentrates the platelets 2.5x the normal resting blood levels. While this is occurring, your scalp is being numbed with a combination of topical anesthetic and nerve blocks. Next, the harvested PRP is reinjected into the scalp and the scalp is treated with microneedling to further stimulate hair regrowth. The microneedling creates mechanical trauma which theoretically helps start the healing cascade and puts the PRP to work. This procedure takes under one hour and is done with only local and topical anesthesia. Typically it takes several months before results are seen. Treatments range from 1- 5 sessions, spaced out over six week intervals.
Newer uses of PRP that are currently under research include its use in hair transplantation techniques such as individual follicular transplantation to allow for greater graft survival and take of the transplanted hairs. This is an exciting area for development as improving the consistency of results in hair surgery is one of the greatest goals in this field.
Since PRP is a natural component of your body, there are relatively few reasons why one would not be a candidate for treatment. Patients who are not good candidates for PRP are those with platelet disorders or who are on medications that inhibit platelet function. Other bleeding issues, liver problems such as cirrhosis, or acute / chronic infections may also be a contraindication for treatment. Talk to your physician about any concerns you have or medical problems during your initial consultation
Women typically have different causes of hair loss then men. PRP can work just as well if not better on women than men depending on the etiology of your hair loss. Realistic expections for the procedure will be reviewed during the initial consultation to determine whether you are a candidate for PRP.
Currently there are no known issues with PRP and most common forms of hair loss therapy. In fact we encourage our patients to continue on their medications as PRP does not “cure” hair loss. It acts to thicken the hair shafts and cause some light regrowth.
Before the procedure, make sure you avoid any blood thinners such as aspirin or vitamin E for 5 days prior. On the day of the procedure, shampoo your hair with your regular shampoo to clean the hair and scalp. After the procedure, you may have some redness of your scalp and a few areas of pinpoint bleeding. You are able to immediately rinse your hair once the procedure is done to clean out any residual anesthetic or blood.