In PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection therapy, blood with significant amounts of platelets that have growth factors is injected into the site of injury in an attempt to quicken the pace of the body’s healing and regeneration in the area. This is performed because the activation of blood platelets plays a vital role in the healing process of wounds and soft tissue.
In the past, PRP injections have been used primarily on a variety of musculoskeletal issues, as well as on injuries to the joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. However, as early as the 1990s, professionals in the field of cosmetic surgery saw the potential benefits of using PRP injections in procedures completed in areas on and adjacent to the face.
Currently, cosmetic surgeons and their practices use PRP therapy in an effort to curtail hair loss and promote hair restoration. Read on to learn more about this quick and easy procedure that often has wonderful results!
To begin, a small amount of blood is drawn from the patient, then is sent through a centrifuge so that only cells that qualify as platelet-rich remain. Then, using a thin needle, the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma is injected into their scalp, where the beneficial growth factors contained in the blood cells go to work on restoring hair growth. PRP for hair loss is suitable for both male and female patients, unlike most hair replacement or hair transplant procedures, which work better on male patients with male-pattern baldness rather than female patients with thinning hair all over their scalp.
Because PRP for hair loss uses the patient’s own blood, there are very rarely any complications that arise from the procedure, and the injection is guaranteed to be compatible with the patient’s blood. It is a simple procedure that does not require any surgery, lasting around an hour to an hour and a half if a patient receives multiple injections. The results are safe, generally reliable, and above all, natural-looking, with a very short period of recovery.
A word of caution: it’s very common for patients to require multiple sessions of PRP hair treatment in order to see the fuller, healthier hair that they desire, sometimes in conjunction with hair transplant procedures, so it’s best to go into the procedure with realistic expectations.
Hair loss and hair thinning affects millions of men and women and can significantly impact people’s lives. In the past, treatment meant having an invasive surgical procedure that was painful, expensive and required downtime. It was also usually quite obvious when someone had treatment.
Fortunately, medical research has found a new way to treat hair loss and thinning hair using a technology that has been around for decades. Platelet Rich Plasma, which is known as PRP, has been used successfully in areas of medicine such as orthopedics for many years. The medical community has studied the use of PRP for hair loss and thinning hair and has determined that PRP is a very effective treatment.
A blood sample is collected from the patient and processed in a machine called a centrifuge. This machine spins the blood sample to separate the red blood cells from plasma. The plasma is rich in platelets that have natural healing properties, including multiple growth factors. The growth factors include platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor (TGF) and insulin-like growth factor. These growth factors stimulate growth of hair follicles, collagen production, and blood vessel repair. The PRP is injected directly into the scalp hair follicles where hair loss and thinning have occurred. The PRP helps stimulate hair growth by increasing the growth phase of the hair cycle and increases the blood supply to the hair follicle.
*Results may vary from patient to patient
Treatment begins with monthly injections for three months. After the initial injections, it is recommended to have a treatment once every three to six months. The number of treatments depends on several factors, including the severity of hair loss, genetics, hormones, patient age, and other medical conditions.
Research has shown patients see an increase in hair growth and density after 3 to 4 treatments. Most patients experience a 30-40% increase in hair growth in the areas where they have lost hair. PRP therapy is most effective in areas where hair loss is recent. Another factor to consider is the quality of the PRP collection system used at your physician’s office.
The growth factors released from the platelets (PDGF, VEGF, EGF, TGF and insulin-like growth factors) are thought to act on stem cells in and around the hair follicles, stimulating the development of new follicles and promoting neovascularization .
Most patients experience mild discomfort. The injection of PRP can produce a mild burning or stinging sensation during the injection. There is no downtime following the procedure. Patients can resume regular daily activity immediately after the treatment.
Because PRP treatment involves using your own blood, there is no risk of an allergic reaction. Anytime blood is drawn there is a chance of a bruise on the arm where the venipuncture is done. When the PRP is injected into the scalp there is a chance of bruising or bleeding. If bruising or any bleeding does occur, it is a small amount that resolves quickly.
If you are in good health, you would likely be a good candidate for this treatment. There are some medical conditions that would exclude you from treatment which is why it is important to have a consultation with a doctor to discuss your medical history and medications, including supplements.
There are some prescription medications that have been FDA approved to treat hair loss and hair thinning. These medications can have side effects such as allergic reaction, scalp itching, and sexual dysfunction in men. LED light therapy has also been shown to improve hair loss.
The cost ranges between $500 and $1,000 per session. Treatment for hair loss is considered cosmetic and is not covered by health insurance.
A treatment session is approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Time is spent with drawing the blood sample and preparing it. Then the PRP is injected into the scalp.
At Laser Lipo and Veins, we pride ourselves on being as transparent and straightforward about our practices as possible, keeping our patients thoroughly informed of every aspect of the cosmetic procedures that we perform and providing careful medical consultations that evaluate whether our procedures will be able to assist you in addressing any areas of concern. Set up a consultation with Dr. Wright to discuss the treatment with you and determine if you would be a good candidate for treatment. He and his staff will explain the procedure, discuss expected outcomes, and answer any questions you may have.
Stem Cells Transl Med. 2015 Nov; 4(11): 1317–1323. Published online 2015 Sep 23. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2015-0107 PMCID: PMC4622412 PMID: 26400925 The Effect of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Hair Regrowth: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4622412/
Giordano, Salvatore, et al. “A Meta-Analysis On Evidence Of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Androgenetic Alopecia.” International Journal of Trichology, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803844/