by James Harris, MD
April 11, 2018
PRP for hair restoration – get the straight facts
female hair loss
| male hair loss
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been used in the medical fields of wound and tissue healing for over two decades. Lately there is a lot of buzz lately about PRP being utilized as an effective new therapy for hair restoration in both men and women. But what are the facts? Can PRP for hair restoration really halt or reverse hair loss? Recent findings show real promise.
PRP for hair restoration preliminary studies
Some research is now out that confirms the efficacy of PRP to treat hair loss. Preliminary studies from the National Institutes of Health report a “significant reduction in hair loss was observed between first and fourth injection. Hair count increased from average number of 71 hair follicular units to 93 hair follicular units.”
How it works
PRP works like this: your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets suspended in a liquid called plasma. Platelets contain numerous growth factors that are released when the platelets are “activated.” The growth factors promote tissue regeneration and healing. The procedure consists of blood being drawn, and then spun in a centrifuge, which has the effect of separating the PRP from the rest of the blood. The platelets are then ideally concentrated to be approximately five to six times their normal blood value. Then the platelets are injected into the scalp, where newly implanted or inactive hair follicles can be stimulated into an active growth phase.
This might sound kind of scary, what with blood and needles. But it is actually painless, because at my clinic we administer a local anesthesia in the scalp where the PRP is injected. No sedation or medication is required. Note that some clinics do not use anesthesia, which leads to rumors of this being a painful procedure. If you are considering PRP for hair restoration, make sure you do your due diligence, and choose a reputable, board-certified physician to administer this therapy, at a clinic that administers local anesthesia. Also ask about the concentration of platelets, they should be 5-6 times the normal concentration.
What to expect
Once the anesthesia is administered I inject the PRP across the areas of the scalp where hair is thinning, usually every ½ inch. This usually takes less than 30 minutes. You will be able to drive home without any evidence of having had the procedure.
Some bruising can occur, which generally resolves within about a week. Minimal (if any) downtime is needed but there may be some scalp tenderness for a few days to a couple of weeks.
Individual results vary, and no guarantees can be made as to the efficacy in any one person’s situation.
Who should not have PRP treatments for hair loss?
Your are not a candidate for PRP if you:
- Have medical conditions such as chronic liver disease, skin diseases or cancer, metabolic and systemic disorders
- Have undergone anti-coagulation therapy
- If you have any type of platelet dysfunction syndromes
The PRP regimen
Effective hair restoration with PRP can only be achieved by sticking to a regimen of treatments. Depending on the severity of hair loss, there may be a few treatments in the initial few months, then consistent treatments every nine to eighteen months. Results are generally seen within three to six months after the first treatment. You may first notice that hair shedding has slowed, which can be a big relief. Minoxidil (Rogaine) and/or Finasteride (Propecia) can be very effective when used in conjunction with PRP, and I often prescribe these as support therapies.
There are some studies that confirm the efficacy of PRP for hair restoration, and I have seen firsthand that it can help hair loss. If you have male for female pattern hair loss I would have you consider PRP treatments.
Dr. James Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit extraction technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. He is currently at the forefront of research and development in the field of hair cloning. Learn more about Dr. Harris or read rave reviews from his patients.