Treating male hair loss with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy.
Regenerative Medicine now offers effective, non-surgical, permanent treatment for male hair loss. This injection-based therapy is typically used to treat chronic joint injuries. Currently, it’s finding new use in the health and beauty industry as a versatile facial rejuvenation treatment. Treating male hair loss with PRP injections is an extension of this. The same intensive healing response can be used to halt or even reverse hair loss.
PRP is potentially useful on any scalp areas where living hair follicles are still present. Areas of long-standing baldness are unlikely to be affected. Benefits include the following:
- Thicker, fuller hair—increases the thickness (hair-shaft diameter) of existing hair growth.
- Increased hair count—can increase the number of hair-shafts per square inch.
- Speed up the hair-growth cycle—can make existing hair grow faster.
- Decrease shedding—extends the natural life-cycle of each hair strand.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is one of the few treatments which addresses multiple causes of male hair loss. It is increasingly being used as both a stand-alone treatment and as part of more comprehensive hair loss protocols.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy for hair loss is done in three steps:
To start, the Platelet Rich Plasma solution which will be used is prepared using a small sample of the patient’s own blood. One or two vials are normally all that’s needed. This is easily collected via a standard medical blood draw immediately before the procedure.
Next, the sample is processed using a laboratory centrifuge found in most medical labs. The blood is spun at very high speeds until it separates out into layers. A thin, glossy portion appears near the top which contains extremely high concentrations of platelets. These microscopic particles play a key role in blood clotting, and are coated in naturally occurring haling factors. It is these chemical signals of healing which are thought to activate slow-growing or inactive yet living hair follicles.
The actual treatment can begin once the PRP solution is complete. The areas of your scalp being treated are first cleaned. Multiple injections are made directly into the scalp, usually about 1/3 inches apart. Your doctor will identify which areas are most likely to respond to treatment. These sections must still contain some living follicles, have a reasonable blood supply, and be otherwise healthy.
At home care:
Patients are often sent home with a supply of a serum containing Platelet Poor Plasma (PRP). It should be applied using a specialized skin-roller for the best effect. This is a safe, simple way to maximize results which makes the fullest possible use of the available sample. The serum is simply applied at home until the supply runs out.
Does the procedure hurt?
No. Local anesthetic drugs such as lidocaine are used to prepare the scalp prior to treatment. As in a dentist’s office, these initial injections may be uncomfortable. After this point, the many PRP injections which are necessary can be made without pain.
The procedure itself causes no lasting trauma. Mild redness and soreness will likely be present in the days following the procedure. Routine activities can begin again immediately afterwards. Patients are advised to wear a high quality, high-SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen as healing continues.
What side effects, if any, can occur?
The vast majority of patients who receive this treatment experience no side effects or complications of any kind. Platelet Rich Plasma for male hair loss is an injection-based therapy. It carries the same risks as any other routine medical injection. This includes infection and scarring, yet when done properly by a trained professional this risk is virtually eliminated. This procedure is regarded as generally safe by the medical community at large.
Who can benefit the most?
Any patient with balding or thinning hair can potentially receive some benefit. The only real limitation is the need for a critical number of living hair follicles in the area to be treated. Hair growth of any kind is not possible in the absence of living hair follicles.
An ideal candidate should also have an adequate blood supply to the scalp. The skin should be in good overall health, and free of other medical conditions before starting treatment.
How many treatments are usually needed?
Multiple treatments will always be necessary to achieve the best results. A standard treatment protocol includes 4 treatments delivered 12 weeks apart. Favorable results can begin to appear in as little as 8 weeks, and can continue indefinitely. A once-yearly maintenance visit is recommended on an ongoing basis going forward
There could be negative effects with PRP because it involves injecting a material under the skin.
PRP is autologous, meaning it contains components that are derived entirely from your body. By avoiding the injection of additional drugs like cortisone or hyaluronic acid, there is less chance of an allergic reaction. However, there are dangers associated with the injection itself, such as:
infections, nerve damage
the injection site hurts; there is tissue damage
With your doctor, you should go over these possible hazards as well as the precautions they will take to reduce them.