PRP Scalp Treatment
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You may have heard of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as a natural treatment to combat hair loss in both women and men. It is a new and increasingly popular adjunct to well-established treatments like Rogaine (Minoxidil), Finasteride, laser therapy and transplants.
While the use of PRP in the treatment of hair loss has shown promising results, it is important to note that this procedure is still in its infancy and considered experimental. There have been no large, double-blind studies proving its efficacy or long term effects. However, in smaller studies and anecdotally, satisfaction and success with the treatment is high. When injected into the scalp, it appears to slow down hair loss, revive dormant hair follicles and improve hair quality. It can also be used as an anti-aging treatment for your skin, reducing wrinkles and scars by stimulating stem cells and fibroblasts to grow new collagen and blood vessels.
What is PRP exactly?
PRP is a component of your own blood containing powerful platelet cells and growth factors that show great promise in the area of regenerative medicine – the study of rebuilding human tissue. Discovered in the 1970’s, PRP as a treatment for wounds and injuries began in the 1990’s. The platelets in PRP, also known as thrombocytes, are a critical component of our blood since they assist in blood clotting, which is essential to keeping us alive. They also contain many powerful growth factors that are released when platelets are activated in a normal healing cascade after injury. These growth factors summon and stimulate multi-potent stem cells and collagen-producing fibroblasts, as well as the growth of new blood vessels that provide oxygen and fuel for new tissue growth. Simply put, PRP speeds up healing and improves the functioning of cells. In hair loss, weak or dormant hair follicles are in need of ‘healing’ and this is where PRP can help.
How is it done?
We draw blood from your arm and then spin the vials in a centrifuge, which separates the plasma from the red blood cells. We spin the plasma a second time to concentrate the platelet cells and their associated growth factors, into PRP. This ‘liquid gold’ is then activated and injected into thinning areas of the scalp to nourish and strengthen hair follicles. We use a small vibration device to ‘confuse’ nerve endings while injecting, so no local anesthesia is required. Most patients report only mild discomfort. Avoiding the additional injections required for local anesthesia also keeps post-treatment swelling down to a minimum and patients usually go back to regular activities immediately.
How does it work on hair follicles?
The platelets in PRP release powerful growth factors from alpha granules within the cells. These growth factors have been shown to activate stem cells, improve growth of the hair shaft and even produce new hair follicles. Dormant hair follicles (telogen) can become active again and stay longer in their growth cycle (anagen). This translates into a fuller head of hair that may appear healthier, stronger, and also grow longer.
Hair loss is a complex problem with many causes and no single hair loss treatment is 100% effective. If you are newly experiencing hair loss, it is always best to consult with a dermatologist first to ensure that there is no underlying medically treatable cause such as anemia, hormone imbalance or an autoimmune condition. Most patients with hair loss are otherwise healthy and may find it helpful to combine different therapies for a potentially synergistic effect. For example, PRP can be done in combination with topical Rogaine and laser treatments, and if you’re having a hair transplant, it can help transplanted hair grow stronger.
How many treatments are needed and how long does it last?
We recommend 3 monthly treatments, followed by a fourth treatment three months later. Maintenance treatments are then required every 6 to 12 months. If treatment is discontinued, hair loss is expected to recur. The optimal treatment schedule has not yet been established because large clinical studies have not been completed.
As with any non-surgical hair loss treatment, it takes months for the follicle to strengthen and produce the visible results of thicker and healthier hair. Although you may see signs of new hair growth by 4-6 months after the PRP injections, it will take a year to have a good indication of how successful your PRP hair treatment has been.
Is it safe?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is considered to be a safe, natural treatment because it uses cells and growth factors from your own blood, which cannot be rejected. PRP is being used in many areas of medicine, including Orthopedic injuries, to help the body heal itself with good success and few side effects. Minor issues, such as bruising and swelling may occur. More serious side effects are rare and will be further reviewed at your consultation.
Call us today to see if PRP for hair loss is right for you, and learn about our many services that always keep your wellness goals in mind.