PRP for Hair Loss FAQs
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How does PRP for hair loss work?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a cutting-edge technology that utilizes the body’s own growth factors, concentrates them, and applies them to the scalp to catalyze hair growth. A quick blood draw from your arm harvests your own natural growth-factor-rich platelets which are activated while you wait. The abundance of your own platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) spurs your hair’s stem cells into action to grow more hair. Meanwhile, vascular endothelial growth factor (VGEF), also present in platelets, supports the microcirculation to nourish those growing hairs and to increase the thickness of existing hairs.
Does the procedure hurt?
The procedure is usually very well tolerated. Your blood is drawn by while you recline in an exam room. It is spun down and processed while you relax. The nutrient-rich part of the collected sample is then delivered in approximately 20 small injections to the areas of hair loss. Discomfort is minimized with the use of a cooling air device (Zimmer cooler) prior to and during each injection. Mild soreness can persist for up to 72 hours post procedure.
How many treatments are required?
Studies show that the best results are seen after monthly treatments for 3 months followed by a repeat treatment 3-6 months later. After this first round of treatments, yearly maintenance treatments are recommended.
How can I be sure that PRP is appropriate for my type of hair loss?
There are a variety of different types of hair loss. The most common types of hair loss in men and women are likely to improve with PRP. However, some types of loss may not be appropriate for this type of therapy and may require alternative treatments. Any hair loss that has areas of scarring, redness, and scale should be evaluated medically by a dermatologist. In addition, any hair loss accompanied by bodily symptoms such as tiredness, irregular periods, unusual hair growth elsewhere (such as the chin in women), joint pain, unintended weight loss or other symptoms should be addressed by your dermatologist, gynecologist, endocrinologist or primary care physician. Particularly in younger women with hair loss, blood tests are important to rule out correctable, hormonal causes of the problem. These should be performed prior to your treatment with PRP.
What are the risks of PRP?
As with any injection into the skin, there is a risk of bruising, discomfort and infection with PRP injections. Infection is very rare and is further decreased by coming into the office with freshly washed hair as well as the clean technique and preparation provided in our medical office. It is possible that despite the good results reported in many clinical trials and reports, you may not respond to PRP and you will continue to experience progressive hair loss. PRP is not currently FDA approved for hair loss but is approved for use in orthopedic treatment.
Who is not a good candidate for PRP treatments?
PRP works best before hair loss is very extensive and ideally within 5 years of onset. Men with rapidly progressing hair loss may not respond as well. PRP treatment is not appropriate for you if you have untreated or persistent melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, etc.) of the head or neck, systemic cancer, platelet abnormalities, blood disorders, hepatitis B or C, are using the blood thinners warfarin, heparin, or newer oral anticoagulants (apixiban, dabigatran, etc), have an active infection in the body, or if you are being treated with systemic chemotherapy. Patients who have been treated with systemic steroids (such as prednisone) within 2 weeks should not be treated. Any patient with an untreated underlying systemic disease or disorder causing their hair loss such as anemia or hormonal abnormalities (thyroid disease, polycystic ovaries) may not respond as well.
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