Platelet Rich Plasma
The term almost sounds like it’s from a science fiction movie, but it is in fact very real and it is one of the most effective ways to fight hair loss. It’s also extremely effective at helping recently transplanted hair grow more efficiently.
What is PRP?
To understand, the first question we have to answer is what is a platelet? For those of us who don’t remember high school biology (and I’d wager that’s a lot of us) platelets are ‘small, colorless disk-shaped cell fragments without a nucleus’ – thank you google dictionary. They are part of the bodies blood supply, with red blood cells and plasma the two main components of blood. It is within the plasma that white blood cells and helpful platelets can be found.
Why Are Platelets Helpful?
Platelets are helpful, especially in context to hair growth, because they are rich in growth factors. Think of every time you’ve cut yourself, it’s platelets that are the first cells to respond. They work with proteins, clumping together to stop the flow of blood from exiting the body. These same growth factors can be extremely effective in helping to stimulate hair follicles as well as prolonging the growth phase of the follicle’s life cycle. When used for hair loss, Platelet Rich Plasma – or PRP – encourages inactive or newly implanted hair follicles to enter an active growth phase. Patients generally first notice a decrease in shedding, followed by regrowth and increased hair length.
How Is it Made?
PRP is made by drawing blood from the patient’s arm. This vial of blood then goes into a centrifuge which spins the blood so rapidly it separates the plasma from the red blood cells. The plasma is now ready to be injected into the scalp at the follicular level. These injections have to be consistent as the factors associated with hair regrowth need to be stimulated to ensure the hair doesn’t fall out.
How Many PRP Injections Do I Need?
The frequency of injections will depend on the individual and their results, but PRP injections typically take place monthly for the first three to four months, and then every three to six months thereafter for up to two years. Other factors such as age, the pattern, and extent of hair loss, genetics and hormones also have to be taken into account. PRP can be beneficial as a standalone treatment. It can also be beneficial to get before a hair transplant procedure. Think of it as the ‘fertilizer’ for the freshly transplanted follicular ‘seed’.
What Are The Side Effects of PRP?
The best part is, there are virtually no side effects. Firstly, since PRP comes from your own blood, you won’t have to worry about any allergic reaction or issues with biocompatibility. The procedure itself is very simple and doesn’t even require any anesthetic. Post-procedure, some patients report mild discomfort but that can be simply addressed with an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol. So if you’re thinking about ways to deal with your hair loss, or if you’ve already decided you want to go the transplantation option, think about Platelet Rich Plasma. It might just be the solution you’re looking for.