Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for Hair Loss and Alopecia: Restoring a Full Head of Hair with Self-Derived Growth Factors
HOW CAN PRP HELP REGROW HAIR?
PRP, or Platelet-Rich Plasma, is a procedure that involves the use of one’s own blood platelet growth factors to jump-start cell regeneration and wound repair where injected. One of the many applications of PRP involves administering the run-down platelet solution, dubbed ‘liquid gold’ for its rejuvenation properties, to regions of the scalp affected by alopecia and hair loss.
There are multiple ways that PRP may be integrated with existing treatment options for best hair regrowth outcomes. Prior to PRP application, the scalp may be exposed to controlled injury using micro-needling or PRP can be directly injected into the skin. The PRP solution itself can be applied as extracted from the patient or in combination with extracellular matrix biologics solutions known to aid in the hair regrowth process for maximized growth. Post-operative may include Red-Light Therapy to enhance the results of the administered growth factors.
Micro-needling involves the use of millimeter-sized needles that penetrate the top layer of skin. Whereas the intentional wounding of the skin recruits stem cells and related growth factors, the resulting small openings allow for greater absorption of the PRP into the skin. Overall, the activation of the stem cells by the incisions and the proliferative qualities of the platelet-derived growth factors lead to the following:
- Increased hair counts validated from both patients and doctors in numerous studies
- Augmented density of hair follicles
- Enhanced thickness of skin
- Upregulation of collagen production
- Heightened number of cells that produce collagen, called fibroblasts
- Expanded blood vessel formation for sustained cell proliferation
WHAT HAPPENS DURING PRP PROCEDURE FOR HAIR LOSS?
Here at Sleep and Wellness, we use a state-of-the-art process of running down the patient’s blood to concentrate platelets used for the PRP injection. After anesthetization of the pain-sensing nerves of the scalp, very small needles will be used to take volumes of the prepared PRP and apply them across the areas affected by hair loss to stimulate hair follicle growth. In terms of post-operative care, we suggest patients use gentle hygienic hair products after the procedure. For those patients using Rogaine® (minoxidil) and finasteride, they may resume using these products 3 weeks after the procedure.
HOW PRP IS EXTRACTED FROM THE BLOOD?
Not all PRP is the same; there are two different methods of creating PRP. A centrifuge is used in both instances, but the nature of how the blood is manipulated to prepare the PRP solution is slightly different for each instance:
- Single Spin, which utilizes entrapment of red blood cells (lower yield of concentrated platelets)
- Dual Spin, which utilizes blood density for separation of red blood cells and components of platelets (higher yield of concentrated platelets)
The Single Spin Method produces PRP with about 1.5-2.5x the amount of platelets as baseline blood whereas the Dual Spin Centrifuge produces PRP with 5-7x the amount of platelets as baseline blood, therefore the Dual Spin method produces roughly 3x the amount of platelets as the Single Spin. Patients may experience varied outcomes with PRP applications, and this is generally attributed to the way in which the PRP was prepared. The best results occur when PRP contains important growth factors, stem cells, and cytokines that increase healing capabilities, which are preserved by the Dual Spin method. Here at Sleep and Wellness, we create pure PRP with our state of the art Dual Spin Centrifuge, which is capable of producing the highest level of platelets per milliliter.
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF HAIR REGROWTH THERAPIES?
Micro-needling may lead to scarring with repeated operation in a given area. However, this is usually not an issue because a one-time treatment can lead to sufficient hair growth within 3 to 6 months post-operation. The micro-needling rarely leads to temporary inflammation, itching, and tenderness as a result of the use of needles, but this resolves itself within a short period of time. Additionally, patients may feel some soreness of the head lasting up to 3 days. The safe nature of PRP overcomes many of the side effects of conventional treatments. For instance, PRP does not lead to unpredictable drop in sexual drive and performance as caused by medicinal therapies. It also does not produce extensive scarring that is often the case for overly-invasive surgeries. Taking into account all options, PRP seems to provide the most betterment with the least side-effects for many patients with hair loss.