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PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) For Hair

A hair treatment that doesn’t require doing something every day

It can be difficult to keep up with some hair treatments, whether they entail taking a pill or applying a solution every day. Due to a busy schedule or simply preference, some people would rather come in every three to four months for a PRP injection. PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma and consists of using a concentration of someone’s own platelets.

How long does the treatment take?

There are two phases to the treatment: the initial and the administration phase.

The initial phase lasts three months. The administrations of PRP for hair loss are typically one month apart for three sessions.

This type of treatment for hair loss does require maintenance for you to continue to see results. Every three to four months, you come back for another treatment- the maintenance phase.

What does PRP therapy help with?

The platelets that the plasma contains have a high concentration of growth factors, which, when released, stimulate cell proliferation, extracellular matrix remodeling, and angiogenesis. Importantly for us, PRP has been shown to help accelerate the regrowth of hair.

PRP mainly helps with hair thickness, but it has also been shown to improve hair density and reduce shedding. It can be used to treat androgenic alopecia and can also help in isolated alopecia areata cases where a patient has a couple of patches of persistent alopecia areata spots of hair loss in a circular pattern.

How are the platelets separated?

Blood is collected and then processed in a centrifuge with which the platelets are separated. 

PRP systems differ from one another and there are many parameters to consider when trying to choose a PRP system. These include how much blood volume is needed, the centrifuge size, the collection method, and the content of the concentrate. The primary factor is the platelet concentration at the end of the PRP preparation. The higher the platelet concentration, presumably, the better stimulation of hair to grow and improve. 

This is information that is important for a surgeon to consider when choosing what PRP machine to buy or, on the patient's side, it can help in choosing the best provider when it comes to PRP equipment. There was a study in 2019 that assessed 33 PRP systems for hair restoration. What it found was that the EmCyte system generated the greatest platelet concentration out of all the systems that they tested.

What are the available PRP administration options?

There are two main types of delivery mechanisms of PRP therapy- the traditional method of application, which uses needles, and the newer method, which is needleless. 
  • PRP hair treatment with needles

The more common method of PRP therapy application is by using needles.

The treatment can be uncomfortable and a numbing agent is often used to make the patient more comfortable, either in the form of a topical solution or injections. An effective way to maximally minimize the pain is through a ring block, a similar approach to what is used for hair transplant surgery. 

Treatment differs from provider to provider depending on the numbing agent used, the size and placement of the needles, and the injection depth.

Follicles are found at most about four millimeters or so under the skin surface, but what's been shown is that even a very superficial injection right into the dermis has just as many benefits, if not more than, a deeper injection towards where the bulb of the follicle lives.

  • Needleless PRP treatment 

What is used to administer the PRP in a needless way is Jetpeel. The Jetpeel machine combines oxygen with any type of liquid into a jet that incorporates the solution into the skin through micro channels at subsonic speeds.

The biggest advantage of the system is that there's no pain, not even afterward when the patient is recuperating.

Dr. Gary Linkov published a study in 2021 on needless PRP treatment. This was a pilot study of 14 patients. Interestingly, 86% of the patients showed improvement in overall hair restoration based on standardized photo scales. On the questionnaire that patients were given at the end of the study, 93% of patients stated that they would recommend this treatment to others. The overall satisfaction score in this study was 81%.

What are the side effects of PRP injections?

Overall, the treatment is very safe. In dozens of studies, there were no reported complications other than some redness to the scalp and occasional pain and headaches. There is also a very small risk of infection.

Who is PRP right for?

Relative contraindications are if you’re taking systemic steroids, have bone or blood cancer, and if you have relatively low platelet numbers.

Some reasons for not doing PRP treatments would be platelet dysfunction, very low platelet numbers, active infection on the site from where the blood was taken or on the scalp, or blood-borne infection.

Even if you are doing another hair restoration treatment, you might still want to consider PRP therapy as a useful adjunct. PRP injections can be done with a hair transplant to reduce shock loss of the existing hairs in the recipient area. Pairing PRP with microneedling, minoxidil, or finasteride has been shown to be beneficial. 

The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

Written by Aleksandra Božović | Edited by Dr. Gary Linkov
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