Approximately 35 million men and 21 million women are experiencing hair loss in this country. While for some it can be from conditions caused by chemotherapy, nutritional deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances. Some of these causes can be corrected; however, most cases of alopecia (baldness) are hereditary. As such, there are few treatments that slow the process or promote significant re-growth, but Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (or PRP) is showing great potential.
What is PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is a relatively new, non-surgical procedure that has been producing great results for those with thinning hair, hair loss, and bald spots. A doctor draws a small amount of the patient’s blood and places it for treatment in a centrifuge so that only the enriched platelet cells remain. These highly concentrated cells are known as platelet rich plasma, and contain various nutrients like protein. These are then injected through a very thin micro-needle into the affected areas of the scalp.
How Does PRP Work?
Platelet rich plasma contains essential growth proteins that when injected in a highly concentrated form can stimulate the hair follicle to regrow hair. Many patients are seeing great results very quickly according to a study published by the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery.
The study involved eleven patients suffering from hair loss due to androgenic alopecia. They also showed no improvement in hair loss after six months of Minoxidil and finasteride treatments, the most common drugs used to reverse hair loss. They received PRP every two weeks for three months. The recorded results showed significant reduction in hair loss between the first and fourth injections, indicating quick results. Other than discomfort during the injections process, the participants reported no side effects.
Researchers concluded that, “PRP injection is a simple, cost effective and feasible treatment option for androgenic alopecia, with high overall patient satisfaction.”
Who Will Best Benefit From PRP?
The New York Times published an article about a hair restoration surgeon in Manhattan who has been getting very good results for patients using Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, especially for women. While fewer females than males suffer hair loss, they tend to have more angst about it than men because of social norms. Women are also not great candidates for hair transplants because, unlike men, they tend to lose hair all over their body making it difficult to find a place to harvest hair for a transplant
PRP has been called “extremely promising” by a spokesman from the American Hair Loss Association, though it was noted that more research was needed. Those undergoing treatment for hair loss could see improved results when they combine PRP with other treatments like a hair transplant.