Treatments for hair loss are getting more and more advanced and less invasive. Today, you have the option of choosing non-surgical treatments like platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP therapy), over-the-counter topical products or minimally invasive surgeries. Pretty much gone are the gory procedures of the past, which left patients with pluggy hair or put them at an increased risk for infection.
PRP therapy might be one of the more exciting developments in hair loss treatment in recent years. Although it’s not the right option for everyone, it can help many people grow more hair.
Understanding Platelet Rich Plasma
PRP therapy involves taking a sample of a person’s blood and separating the plasma from it. The plasma is concentrated, so that it contains a higher amount of certain growth factor proteins, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, transforming growth factor, and platelet derived growth factor.
Before it was used to help improve hair growth, PRP was commonly used in orthopedic medicine to treat injuries such as tennis elbow and other tendon injuries. Exposing an area of the body to more platelets stimulates healing in that area. When it comes to treating hair loss, injecting a balding area with PRP helps to reduce shrinkage of the hair follicles and to encourage new growth of cells and better blood flow.
Gender Doesn’t Matter for PRP
By now, you probably know that women deal with hair loss almost as frequently as men. Although women and men often lose their hair in different ways or patterns, the good news is that treatment with platelet rich plasma is usually suitable for either men or women. In fact, women might be more likely to get the treatment than men.
Types of Hair Loss for PRP
Certain types of hair loss respond better to PRP therapy than others. Although you might assume that the treatment is a good way to restore an extensive amount of hair loss, in many cases, a hair transplant is the better option.
PRP is often best suited for people who suffer from alopecia areata, which can cause bald spots to develop on the scalp. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that does occasionally resolve on its own. In the meantime, having to live with bald patches can be difficult.
Although PRP is usually reserved for non-genetic causes of hair loss, some studies have been conducted to see how effective PRP is in curbing male pattern baldness. One study, involving 11 patients, found that PRP did help improve hair loss in men with male pattern baldness. The men were given injections of platelet rich plasma every two weeks for a total of eight weeks. At the end of the study, many of the men noted a reduction in hair loss and increase in the amount of hair in the tested area.
Candidate’s Health Does Matter
A candidate health’s determines whether PRP is right for them. People with certain types of blood disorders, skin issues or liver disorders aren’t usually good candidates for PRP therapy. Taking some medications might affect your ability to have PRP therapy as well.
The good news about PRP is that since it comes from your own body, there is little need to worry about an allergic reaction or about your body rejecting the injection.
Realistic Expectations Required
A good candidate for PRP therapy will have realistic and reasonable expectations for the treatment. That can mean not expecting the therapy to instantly give you a full head of hair, for example. It can also mean having an understanding of potential side effects, such as swelling, or any discomfort that can be caused by the treatment.
Hair Transplant Recipients
You don’t have to choose between a hair transplant and PRP therapy. In fact, many hair transplant patients consider having PRP therapy either before or afterwards.
Injecting platelet rich plasma into the area where the hair was recently transplanted can help the hair grow. The plasma helps the grafts heal and can also stimulate new hair growth. PRP can also be injected into the donor area to help it heal and to reduce the appearance of scars afterwards.
Dr. Kyle Choe, a board certified facial plastic surgeon, offers patients a number of hair restoration options at his practice in Virginia Beach. If you are dealing with hair loss and are looking for a way to minimize thinning or restore lost hair, call 757-389-5850 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe today.