What is PRP Therapy?
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is a three-step medical treatment in which a patient’s blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp.
Some in the medical community think that PRP injections trigger natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft. Sometimes this approach is combined with other hair-loss procedures or medications.
PRP contains special cells called Platelets and Growth Factors, that can theoretically cause growth of the hair follicles by stimulating the stem cells and other cells in the microenvironment of the hair follicle. These special Platelet cells promote healing, accelerates the rate and degree of tissue healing and regeneration, responds to injury, and formation of new cellular growth. The primary purpose of using PRP in hair restoration is to stimulate inactive or newly implanted hair follicles into an active growth phase.
PRP Therapy Process
PRP therapy is a three-step process. Most PRP therapy requires three treatments 4–6 weeks apart. Maintenance treatments are required every 4–6 months.
Your blood is drawn, typically from your arm, and put into a centrifuge, a machine that spins rapidly to separate fluids of different densities.
After about 10 minutes in the centrifuge, your blood will have separated into in three layers:
- Platelet-Poor Plasma
- Platelet-Rich Plasma
- Red Blood Cells
The platelet-rich plasma is drawn up into a syringe and then injected into areas of the scalp that need increased hair growth.
Evidence supports PRP therapy as a promising treatment to promote hair growth, although no claim can be made of its efficacy. Studies have shown that growth factors released from platelets may act on stem cells in the bulge area of the follicles, stimulating the development of new follicles and promoting neo-vascularization. (Journal of Aesthetic Cutaneous Surgery, 2014). Since PRP is in the early stages of scientific research for hair loss therapy, PRP is not meant to replace current FDA approved therapies such as DHT blockers and Minoxidil. That being said, PRP is a promising non-surgical option for men and women experiencing hair loss. Individual results will vary and no guarantees of success can be made. A consultation from a licensed practitioner is highly suggested.
PRP FOR HAIR LOSS SIDE EFFECTS
Because PRP therapy involves injecting your own blood into your scalp, you aren’t at risk for getting a communicable disease. Still, any therapy that involves injections always carries a risk of side effects such as:
- Injury to blood vessels or nerves
- Calcification at the injection points
- Scar tissue
There is also the chance that you could have a negative reaction to the anesthetic used in the therapy. If you decide to pursue PRP therapy for hair loss, let your doctor know in advance about your tolerance to anesthetics.
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