There’s a lot of buzz about PRP, or platelet rich plasma, these days. It’s injected into certain areas of the face during a “Vampire facelift,” and has been used to treat chronic sports-related injuries. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and athletes such as Maria Sharapova have tried it, although for admittedly very different reasons. While you might have read about PRP in terms of its cosmetic and orthopedic benefits in the tabloids, you might not have heard about its use as a hair restoration treatment.
The Choe Center for Hair Restoration has recently started offering PRP therapy as an alternative to hair restoration or for use alongside of it. If you’re dealing with hair loss, find out more about the treatment so that you can decide if it’s the right thing for you.
What Is PRP?
Your blood contains three different types of solid compounds — red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Platelets play an important role in helping your blood clot, so that wounds heal. They also contain a number of growth factors, which also help wounds heal. In the simplest terms, platelet rich plasma is simply your blood with the red and white blood cells removed. The blood contains five times the number of platelets found in standard blood.
PRP comes from your own body. At the beginning of the treatment, the surgeon will take a sample of your blood, separate the platelets from the other solid cells, then place the liquid plasma and platelets in a centrifuge. The spinning action separates the liquid plasma from the platelets, which fall to the bottom of the vial. Your surgeon will then use a syringe to collect the PRP before injecting it into the areas where you have hair loss.
Will It Take a Long Time?
How long PRP treatment takes depends in part on the number of areas you are having treated. Typically, the treatment takes less than 90 minutes from start to finish. You might want to return for repeat treatments at certain intervals to get the most out of the therapy.
Along with not requiring a lot of time at the surgeon’s office, PRP also doesn’t require a long recovery period. You may have some swelling for up to two days afterwards. You won’t have to take much, if any time off from work, as many people go back the day after their treatment. You may want to avoid the gym for about a day or so afterwards, or until your swelling has gone down.
Will I See Results Right Away?
Just like hair restoration surgery, PRP therapy won’t give you instant results. Your hair will need time to grow. The therapy is working to repair and restore your hair follicles, so it can be a few months before you see any new growth. Usually, you’ll see new growth within eight months. Some people see it sooner than others, in as few as three months. It can also take as long as a year for your hair growth to improve significantly. It’s best to be patient and to rest assured that you’ll most likely see some improvement in your hair growth.
Are There People Who Shouldn’t Try It?
While PRP can help people of a variety of ages and can help both male and female patients, there are some people who aren’t good candidates for the treatment. For example, if you take blood thinners to help control a chronic condition, the treatment is usually not recommended. If you take aspirin or other pain relievers that are known to thin the blood on a regular basis, you’ll want to avoid taking those medicines for a few weeks before PRP therapy. Your surgeon will evaluate your current health, medical conditions and medicines and let you know if the therapy is appropriate for you.
Keep in mind that PRP therapy does require you to have some blood drawn. If you are squeamish about having the surgeon take a sample of blood, there are ways to make the process less frightening. He can use a smaller needle to draw the blood, for example.
Having certain types of hair loss over other types might make you better candidate for PRP therapy. For example, the treatment might provide better results if you are suffering from alopecia areata than if you have male pattern baldness. If you’ve decided to have a hair transplant, PRP therapy may be performed in conjunction with the transplant to help improve your results.
Hair restoration surgeon Dr. Kyle Choe recently began offering PRP therapy to patients at his Virginia Beach practice. To learn more about the therapy and if it’s the right option for you, call (757) 389-5850 to schedule a consultation today.