Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Hair Loss

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that can leverage the body’s healing abilities and enhance the natural growth factors your body uses to heal tissue. 

PRP treatments can combine with hair restoration and other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. The platelets (one type of blood cell) contain growth factors that can stimulate cell proliferation, speed up the healing process, and promote tissue regeneration in the treated area. PRP treatments can enable wound healing in trauma and joint tissue injury. This technique can address male pattern baldness, stimulate the growth of hair transplants, and enhance other cosmetic procedures. 

Since PRP treatments use patients’ tissues, they are considered safe and can be administered alone or used with other cosmetic procedures. While we mainly perform PRP therapy in combination with FUE hair transplant surgery, stand-alone PRP treatments for hair loss are a service we offer. 

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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Hair Loss

What Is PRP Treatment?

Blood plasma is a yellowish-liquid blood component that holds the blood cells of whole blood in suspension. It is the liquid part of the blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body, making up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume. It is the intravascular part of extracellular fluid. 

Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are tiny fragments of cells that are essential for normal blood clotting so you can stop bleeding. If you get a cut or bruise, the wound sends signals to the platelets. Then, they rush to the site of damage and form a plug (clot) to fix the damage by growing sticky tentacles that help them adhere to one another. They also send chemical signals to attract more platelets to pile onto the clot to enhance the blood clotting process.

On the other hand, plasma is the liquid component of whole blood. It is mainly composed of water and proteins, and it provides a medium for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to circulate through the body. 

Platelets (thrombocytes) are cells in the blood that cause blood clots and other essential growth healing functions. Plasma makes up about 55% of our blood. It has many functions, including carrying nutrients, proteins, and hormones to various cells, maintaining blood pressure and volume, and dispelling cell waste.

PRP injections are prepared by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These platelets get directly injected into your injured body tissue. This injection releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces.

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How Is PRP for Hair Loss Performed?
Is PRP Effective at Regrowing Hair?
Is PRP for Hair Loss Safe?

How Is PRP for Hair Loss Performed?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for hair loss follows a three-step treatment. A technician draws your blood, refines it, and injects into the scalp. It may not be noticeable when mixed in our blood, but plasma is naturally a pale yellow color. Plasma is quite easy to see by contrast when it separates in the centrifuge.

Some experts in the medical community believe that PRP injections stimulate natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft. They combine this approach with other hair loss procedures or medications.

PRP therapy has been in use since the 1980s, although not have enough research exists at this point to prove whether PRP is an effective hair loss treatment. Medical experts have used PRP for healing injured tendons, sprained joints, pulled muscles, and hair loss. 

PRP gets produced in a three-step process. Most PRP therapy requires three treatments (four to six weeks apart) and requires maintenance treatments every four to six months.

Step 1

Your blood is drawn (typically from your arm) by placing 20 cc of whole blood into a centrifuge (a machine that spins rapidly to separate fluids of different densities).

Step 2

After 10 minutes in the centrifuge, your blood separates into three layers:

  1. Platelet-poor plasma.
  2. Platelet-rich plasma. 
  3. Red blood cells.

Step 3

The platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is drawn into a syringe and then injected into scalp areas that need hair regrowth. 

According to a recent study, although PRP has a sufficient theoretical scientific basis to support its use in hair restoration, hair restoration using PRP is still in its infancy. 

Is PRP Effective at Regrowing Hair?

Studies on PRP aren’t entirely conclusive, and not enough research exists to document its effects on hair growth. One theory suggests that  the body operates more efficiently with better blood flow. Remember that red blood cells carry oxygen through the body, which helps stimulate vital organs, allows them to perform optimally, and promotes cell growth. Our body needs oxygen to function efficiently. 

The most promising part of this theory involves the proteins in platelets. Some hypotheses claim that the proteins contain several kinds of growth factors. These growth factors include platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and interleukin (IL)-1.

These growth factors could promote new follicle development and enhance the natural formation of new blood vessels. Therefore, if new follicles are present, new hair may grow.

PRP treatments in areas of the scalp where hair is thinning could potentially help the shrinking follicles produce hair more efficiently and create some new follicles. Nonetheless, enough blood flow would be beneficial, but determining effectiveness for how stand-alone treatments requires more research.

A 2014 pilot study injected 2 to 3 milliliters of PRP four times (two weeks apart) in 11 participants. These individuals hadn’t seen success with oral finasteride or topical Minoxidil. Researchers found hair loss slowed between the first and fourth injections of PRP. Their conclusion: PRP injection is an easy, economical, and logical treatment option for androgenic alopecia, with high overall patient satisfaction. 

While this pilot study offers hope for those who would like to try PRP for hair loss, more research is needed before it can be proven effective as a stand-alone treatment. Additionally, clinical trials will need to involve a larger group of participants.

While the efficacy of stand-alone injections as a treatment for hair restoration is still debatable, PRP has been proven very effective in wound healing. 

After the hair follicles have been harvested from the donor site, the patient’s own PRP gets injected back into the scalp to promote faster healing. Most patients are interested in this process, as the post-operative healing period can be uncomfortable (although certainly not unbearable).

Of course, proper care after FUE treatment plays a significant role in the success of the procedure. Follow these instructions for success following the procedure:

  • Spray the scalp with water and let it air dry.
  • Don’t wash or brush your hair for the first week.
  • Refrain from dyeing your hair for the first month to ensure the transplant site accepts the relocated follicles while allowing the donor site to heal properly.

Is PRP for Hair Loss Safe?

PRP treatments for hair loss are safe, especially when performed by a trained hair restoration expert. The patient’s blood gets used in this treatment, so there’s no need to run it through various tests. 

Using plasma during medical-surgical treatments is relatively standard. For example, plasma treats immunodeficiency diseases, injuries, burns, and genetic emphysema. It also provides a quick immune boost (via antibodies) in potentially life-threatening situations.

In the case of hair restoration, the safety concerns are the same as in any other possible function. Aside from the need for a clean needle and syringe, this procedure offers minimal risk.

Mild side effects include headache, pain, redness, and temporary hair shedding. It’s important to note that PRP may not be suitable for those with a history of bleeding disorders or autoimmune diseases.

How Much Does PRP Hair Treatment Cost?

At Long Island Hair Transplant Center, PRP treatment can pair with other hair transplant procedures for $1,000 per session. A series of three treatments are necessary before you can see any improvement. Moreover, PRP can work as a minimally invasive stand-alone treatment for hair loss for $1,500 per treatment or three treatments for $3,000. 

Is PRP a Good Option for You?

If you’re concerned about hair loss, you may have tried several options, including medications such as Rogaine and Propecia, but didn’t get any significant results. If that’s the case, another consideration is PRP therapy. 

However, some conditions may not qualify a patient for PRP treatment, including cancer, liver disease, sepsis, low platelet count, infection, and other metabolic disorders. That’s why it’s essential to schedule an initial consultation before conducting a PRP treatment for our team to evaluate your medical history.

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