The Surgeon Minute

Using Platelet-Rich Plasma To Counteract Hair Loss

Using Platelet-Rich Plasma To Counteract Hair Loss
It may sound like a bit of scary venture to some people, using blood and needles to  restart hair growth, but experts say it’s an effective treatment. It’s called PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, and it’s gaining popularity. As board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Mark Epstein explains, the procedure works on men and women who are battling hair loss.

Hair Now, Gone Tomorrow

Hair loss can be unsettling, especially in women. The good news for anyone who suffers from hair loss, or even just thinning hair, is a new treatment the uses blood to restore a youthful appearance. “This new treatment called PRP, is effective for hair loss in both women and men,” says Dr. Epstein, a plastic surgeon in Stony Brook, New York.

Hair loss in women.

Epstein says that many people have heard of the ‘vampire facial’ that uses blood, but he says PRP or platelet-rich plasma is fairly new to most people and so far, well-received. “Women seem to love this procedure because hair loss in women from a social standpoint is less common and more of an issue because it makes them feel so uncomfortable.” Epstein says PRP isn’t a replacement for hair transplantation. “It’s a better alternative in a lot of ways,” he says.

The ABC’s of PRP

Just the thought of blood and injections may be enough to make some people a bit squeamish, but Epstein says the procedure is very low risk. There is minimal discomfort for most people. “We draw the blood and then we separate the plasma and take the platelet-rich plasma from that and then we inject tiny amounts of it into the scalp.”

PRP injections for hair loss.

Epstein says numbing for pain relief is available, if a patient wants it. “It makes the patient very relaxed and comfortable.” He says the PRP injection only takes a couple of minutes. “It’s very fast,” explains Epstein. Experts say there are a number of scientific articles that indicate the treatment works. “When you inject the PRP into the hair, it stimulates the hair follicles and the first thing you notice is the hair loss starts to diminish and then the fine hair will reappear,” says Epstein. He says the treatment helps the hair get thicker and eventually the density improves.

A patient will need more than one treatment and its important to stick to a schedule for the best results. “We recommend about four treatments, about a month apart and then maintenance treatments 3-4 months after that.”

Who Is A Good Candidate

Almost anyone who is having hair loss may benefit from PRP, according to Epstein and others who are supporters of the treatment. “It’s a wonderful treatment with no downtime and no significant risk,” he shares.

Hair loss fixed with PRP.

Epstein believes women are among the best candidates because of the impact the loss of hair has on self-esteem. “Unlike men, who suffer hair loss – myself included – hair loss in women is fairly traumatic and this is something that women can do for themselves that is fairly inexpensive and can really make a big difference in how they feel and how comfortable they are with themselves.”

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