PRP For Hair Restoration
Platelets are the powerful mending agents in your blood. They are critical to wound repair, as they allow the blood to clot. Beyond their clotting prowess, blood platelets are also powerful growth facilitators, which plays another important part in wound healing and skin repair. Concentrated platelets have been used for years by professional athletes trying to speed healing after injury. Now Dr. Orna Fisher puts these same platelets to work for patients with thinning hair. The procedure is called platelet-rich plasma for hair restoration, and it helps patients stop losing their hair and start regrowing new hair.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
The goal is to isolate the workhorses of healing in the blood, the platelets. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is what you have left when you take a sample of blood and use a centrifuge to remove the red blood cells. What remains is plasma containing white blood cells and blood platelets. By removing the blood cells, the remaining PRP has powerful healing properties, including seven growth factors.
Growth factors are basically messengers in the body. They signal cells to perform various functions; that’s why they’re important for healing by initiating new tissue growth. Recently, it was learned that growth factors could help reactivate hair follicles that have become inactive, promoting new hair growth.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss is a common condition among both men and women caused by natural aging, medications, or a manifestation of a health disorder. It can result thinning of the hair or patchy bald spots which can be treated with PRP injections. Some of the causes of hair loss include:
- Male pattern baldness
- Hormone changes
- Scalp infections
- Severe bodily infections or high fevers
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Traumatic stress
- Compulsive hair-pulling
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders
- Certain skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Telogen effluvium, in which too many hair follicles remain in a resting state
The Hair Growth Cycle
Human hair has three phases in its growth and subsequent shedding: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting/shedding phase). When we’re young, our hair follicles spend most of their time in the growth phase. Due to aging or genetic determinants, our hair follicles begin to spend more time in the resting phase. That leads to thinning hair because the follicles that have recently shed their hair in the telogen phase don’t quickly move back to the anagen phase to start growing new hair.
PRP Injections for Hair Loss
The goal is to get those resting follicles to kick into gear and being producing hair. The vehicle to do that is PRP. It is injected in dozens of injections across the scalp in the area where the hair is thinning. Then the PRP is allowed to work its magic with its growth facilitators stimulating resting follicles to return to growth stage. With more follicles back growing hair again, shedding decreases dramatically, and areas of thinning hair begin to fill back in.
PRP For Hair Loss Was Featured on The Doctors
How Is PRP Therapy Performed?
PRP Therapy is performed by a three step process. For long-term success of the treatment, the process needs to be completed once per month for about three to four months. Then maintenance will be required to keep the new hair growing in and continuing that pattern of hair growth.
The process begins by taking a small amount of blood, an amount similar to a blood test. Dr. Fisher places the blood in a centrifuge to separate out the different components, dividing the red blood cells from the plasma (the clear fluid that makes blood liquid) and the platelets.
By removing the red blood cells, the remaining plasma liquid has four times the normal number of platelets, hence the term “platelet-rich” plasma. This process only takes a few minutes. Your blood is separated into three layers:
- platelet-poor plasma
- platelet-rich plasma
- red blood cells
The platelet-rich plasma is placed into a syringe and then injected into the scalp to increase the rate of hair growth. Since you are injecting your own blood into your scalp there is no risk of disease.
Would I Be a Good Candidate for PRP Hair Restoration?
If you are experiencing hair loss, you’re basically a good candidate for PRP hair restoration with Dr. Fisher. However, the growth factors in the PRP work best when awakening dormant hair follicles. These hair follicles are still healthy and capable of growing hair, but they are spending more and more time in dormant phase. That’s why PRP hair restoration works best when the patient notices early hair loss. Clinically, this is known as androgenic alopecia.
PRP works well for both men and women, especially those in the early stages of hair loss.
How Many PRP Treatments Are Needed?
Dr. Fisher recommends one PRP treatment per month for three to four months, with follow-up treatments every three to six months, depending of the patient’s response to treatment. For most patients with thinning hair or pattern baldness, this is viewed as an ongoing maintenance program to overcome the tendency for the hair follicles to become dormant.
How Long Will It Take to Start Growing Hair After PRP?
Most patients first notice decreased hair shedding. From there, real growth usually is noticeable after the first two to three months.
Recovery After PRP Therapy
There isn’t really any recovery. You may take an over-the-counter pain medication if you feel any soreness, but you can shower and wash your hair immediately. Dr. Fisher usually recommends holding off one to two days with typical hair maintenance, such as blow drying, coloring, curling, etc. If there is any sensitivity after the procedure, in a few days it will be alleviated.
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