Whether in horror movies or comic books, Dracula always seems to have a wonderful head of jet black hair and a widow’s peak to die for. Metaphorically speaking, perhaps Dracula’s perfect head of hair was not by accident. Even the Dark Master’s scalp needs constant nourishment that only a liter or two of a fresh victim’s blood can provide.
Cast in the same vein that truth is stranger than fiction, a recent study by Italian and Israeli researchers has found that platelets drawn from a patient’s own blood can help to regrow hair. The study looked at 45 people suffering from varying degrees of alopecia areata (spot baldness). One half of each patient’s scalp was injected with platelet rich plasma (PRP). The other half was left alone. The side treated with PRP regrew hair in abundance. The other side did not.
Referred to as the Vampire treatment for spot baldness, researchers suspect it may also be a useful treatment for both male and female pattern baldness. The study indicates that PRP works best on patients with autoimmune-related spot baldness. This condition produces inflammation which causes rapid hair loss.
The Vampire procedure begins with the withdrawal of an armful of blood. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge and the platelets are separated out by the machine’s spinning action. The patient’s scalp is then numbed and pure PRP is injected into the patchy bald areas.
The research suggests that PRP stimulates the growth of new stem cells under the skin which rejuvenates failing hair follicles, prompting them to regrow normal hair. Results began to appear 90 days after the treatment and continued for up to a year.
It’s a bloody shame having to endure the pain of thinning hair. The so-called Vampire treatment has shown promise as a non-invasive treatment for hair loss but it is by no means a spot-on cure at this early stage of the research.
The Vampire treatment also is not a long-term substitute for traditional hair replacement surgery which uses the patient’s own hair follicles to restore a healthy head of hair. The results are long lasting and there is minimal risk of infection or rejection of hair grafts since it involves the patient’s own tissue.
The Vampire treatment may lead to the creation of topical creams to produce the same hair growth results but without the need to draw blood.
A qualified hair transplant surgeon will have the answers you need to decide if hair transplant surgery is right for you.
Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation.