PRP (platelet rich plasma) is a non-surgical treatment for hair loss. It involves small scalp injections of a concentrated solution derived from a sample of your own blood. It is a form of ‘biotherapy’, which utilises your own body’s ability to heal and repair. For this reason it often appeals to people who would like to avoid pharmaceutical products or who would like to add to other hair loss treatments that they may be using.
PRP is a fairly new treatment option for hair loss. However, it has been used extensively for joint conditions and facial skin rejuvenation, and many studies researching PPR have been published in peer reviewed journals. It has been shown to be a very safe treatment and, although every patient’s response will be different, we are seeing very encouraging results when treating hair loss.
No. PRP is a very broad term and the chances of achieving a successful outcome are dependent on many factors. The concentration of platelets and other blood components in the PRP sample need to be precisely controlled and adjusted according to the condition being treated. The choice of centrifuge device used to produce the PRP sample is crucial. It is important to check the scientific credentials of the device used for your treatment, as well as the practitioner’s rationale behind the particular approach they are advising.
Plasma is the fluid component of blood and makes up the majority of its volume. There are three types of blood cells in the plasma, red blood cells which carry oxygen, white blood cells which help fight infections, and platelets which are responsible blood clotting, scab formation, wound healing and repair. PRP is a plasma solution which contains about five times the concentration of the normal platelet level. After injury, platelets play a critical role in the healing response by releasing growth factors. Growth factors are a group of proteins that stimulate the growth of specific tissues. Many of these growth factors are thought to promote hair growth.
We do not know exactly how PRP stimulates hair growth. There are limited studies that show PRP can stimulate hair growth in the laboratory and clinical trials. It is postulated that the growth factors in PRP stimulate new blood vessels, amplifies your natural wound healing process and even possibly stimulates stem cells. More research is needed to identify how PRP works in stimulating hair growth.
After drawing your blood the platelet rich plasma is separated from the rest of the blood by using an automated centrifuge system.
We will need to draw 44 ml of your blood. This is a bit more than when you need to have your blood drawn for a test at the doctor’s office. We use a butterfly needle and most patients say this part is pain free.
The area of scalp requiring treatment is numbed using local anaesthetic injections. We use a variety of techniques to ensure this process is as comfortable as possible. Once we have separated the PRP from your blood sample, this is injected just beneath the skin in precise quantities and at a precise depth. We suggest that the treatment be repeated for 3 sessions, at 4 week intervals. To maintain the benefits, we recommend repeating a single treatment session every 6-12 months.
Since PRP is derived from your own blood safety concerns are minimal. So far no studies have shown any safety concerns or significant side effects of PRP. PRP has been used for years in orthopedic medicine and dental procedures without any reported side effects.
Some patients have discomfort after the procedure but most do not report pain. There is the possibility of some scalp and forehead swelling that tends to resolve within 3-5 days.
Please inform us if you are on anticoagulant therapy (Warfarin, NOACs), taking a Beta Blocker, have an active infection or scalp condition or are pregnant
PRP can be used in two ways, as a stand-alone therapy or an adjunct to hair transplantation.
1) Stand Alone Therapy:
For both men and women who have thinning hair but not enough thinning to be a candidate for hair transplantation. For men and women who cannot tolerate other medical treatments such as Propecia (finasteride) or Regaine (minoxidil), or who wish to use them in combination for added benefit.
2) As an adjunct to hair transplant surgery.
There is a possibility that PRP enhances the body’s own natural healing after a transplant both in the donor and recipient area. There is very little research in using PRP this way and most of our information is anecdotal. Also, if one has a limited donor and can only address part of the balding area in one surgery PRP can be used an adjunct to stimulate hair growth in areas not transplanted.
We have seen some very good results from PRP used in areas of thinning hair. However, it does not work for all patients and we do not know why it works better in some cases than others. The use of PRP in hair growth is relatively new and is not FDA approved for this treatment. Thus it is still considered experimental. At The Maitland Clinic we have decided to offer PRP due to some excellent results seen by some of the top physicians in the global hair transplant industry and some studies that have shown good results. But we still have a lot to learn. It works best in areas where there is still a lot of miniaturised hair and is unlikely to work well in areas that are completely bald.
A PRP treatment session for one area (either the frontal half of the scalp or the crown area) is £595. We are able to cover a larger area by repeating the process at a small additional cost. Package prices for 3 treatments are also available. The price reflects the quality of the process, using the industry’s leading device to process the blood sample safely and with a sound scientific basis. We feel that cheaper alternatives are unable to achieve the correct effective concentration of platelets in order to maximise the changes of treatment success.
As PRP is relatively new for treating hair loss patients results are still on going. This patient below shows his results three and a half months after his first PRP session at our clinic.
Before (left) and after (right) three and a half months after PRP treatment into crown and mid scalp:
High magnification images of this gentleman’s central crown whorl before (left) and after (right) PRP treatments. This demonstrates how PRP can increase the hair diameter to improve density but does not grow new hair.
Case Study Two
This patient had her first PRP session in August 2016, her second in June 2017 and came back for a review in December 2017. The images seen below are from her first session and recent review.
Case Study Three
This patient first visited us in his early 20s with thinning throughout the front and crown, it was advised by Dr Edward Ball to start treatment with Propecia for one year and review. At his follow up consultation it was recommended to start Platelet Rich Plasma treatment to see if further improvements could be made before considering hair transplant surgery.
These PRP results you can see are the progress after just two PRP treatments at The Maitland Clinic. As you can see the patient has responded very well to treatment and is continuing treatment rather than going ahead with surgery at this stage.
To discuss PRP treatments in more detail please contact us at The Maitland Clinic on 0800 612 6076 or complete our contact form.
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