Losing hair prematurely is one of the most demoralizing events that occurs in many millions of peoples’ lives. “It’s one of the classic hallmarks of, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m getting older,'” says Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Shaun Parson.
Dr. Parson is one of many board certified surgeons feeling very hopeful for the future of hair restoration. One treatment in particular is showing great promise, a procedure that requires no surgery, scarring, nor pain – beyond the stick of an injection. Platelet-rich plasma frequently graces headlines as a wonder substance able to cure all, much of which remains dubious yet. However, PRP when it comes to hair restoration promises – and substantiates – a real solution.
What is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma, known as PRP, is a component of blood full of growth factors. After blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge, what’s left is and enriched plasma to be used in any number of applications. PRP hair restoration has produced viable results and excites surgeons like Dr. Parson.
“We take some of the patient’s own blood and spin that down so that we get a super concentrated sample of their own platelets that has five different types of growth factors,” explains parson. “We can then reapply to the patient in multiple procedures and drive in a super concentration of growth factors that can significantly improve hair restoration.”
The PRP is injected into the scalp or areas to be treated using a special micro needle. It is possible to use PRP hair loss therapy alone to promote hair growth, or it can also be used in combination with hair transplant or restoration surgery.
“It’s a series of injections and a lot of times we’ll couple that with microneedling, and we can also use agents like minoxidyl to drive that into the skin with the super concentration of growth factors,” Dr. Parson adds. “It improves sometimes a hundred fold what we would see with just minoxidyl alone.”
The Advantages of PRP
Advantages of using PRP hair restoration include:
- A simple, non-surgical procedure
- Multiple injections: procedure only lasting approximately 60 minutes
- Safe and reliable results
- A rapid recovery period
With a thin needle, your own PRP is injected into the scalp. The growth factors in your blood cells do their job and hair growth is naturally stimulated. PRP hair restoration is suitable for both men and women.
Proof of PRP’s Effectiveness for Hair Loss
Several studies have already been or are being conducted on the use of PRP for hair restoration. One 2014 study, published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, concluded PRP hair restoration is effective and safe:
“In this prospective study, safety, efficacy and feasibility of PRP injections in treating androgenic alopecia were assessed. Eleven patients suffering from hair loss due to androgenic alopecia and not responding to 6 months treatment with minoxidil and finasteride were included in this study. 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. PRP injection is a simple, cost effective and feasible treatment option for androgenic alopecia, with high overall patient satisfaction.
Dr. Parson’s anecdotal experiences with his patients echo other positive studies. “As you can see from these photos, there’s an increased thickness, there’s an increased overall quality to the hair,” Dr. Parson says. “I’ve actually had some of my patients’ barbers ask them what they’re doing.”
Do Some Patients Respond Better than Others with PRP?
Part of the success of PRP hair restoration comes from selecting the right patients for therapy Dr. Parson says. PRP is safe and effective for many people. However, you should not have PRP therapy if you fall into either of these groups:
- If you have an underlying disorder such as thyroid disease or lupus, you aren’t likely to have good results because these conditions will continue to cause hair loss over time.
- If you are on blood thinners, your platelets won’t work as effectively and the procedure is not as effective.
PRP hair restoration therapy works better if your hair loss is recent. Most researchers say it is more challenging to “wake up” hair follicles that have been dormant for a long time. Even so, because the treatment is so minimal and “easy” to perform, it’s certainly worth giving a shot if a patient’s physician says there’s a chance.