Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, is concentrated blood plasma (composition of blood) that contains approximately five times the number of platelets found in normal circulating blood. Apart from red blood cells and white blood cells, our blood also contains cells known as platelets. The function of platelets is to promote healing and aid in the clotting of blood at the site of a wound. Platelets contain growth factors that promote regeneration of the cells in the body.
The use of PRP to treat hair loss has the potential to change the way hair loss is treated globally as it’s a revolutionary, new treatment for hair loss.
Platelets aid in clotting of blood, which is the key to the body’s ability to heal wounds. The idea behind PRP therapy is that by increasing the platelet count in a wounded area, the body’s healing capacity in that area would be accelerated.
The injection of PRP is a technique using the body’s own blood to heal itself. It is usually used for the growth of thinning hair, transplanted hair, and wound healing.
PRP therapy is performed in 3 stages.
The first stage includes blood collection, very similar to a routine blood test performed at your doctor’s clinic. The collected blood is then placed in a special container. This container is put in a machine called a centrifuge where your blood is spun for approximately 15 minutes, this step separates all the blood components from your normal whole blood. The PRP that contains abundant growth factors and stem cells is now ready to be applied to the scalp. The goal of this process is to increase the effects of PRP therapy in hair loss.
The rich concentration of platelets now has to be applied to the scalp where hair loss has begun. Therefore, preparing the scalp to receive the PRP is necessary. For this, the scalp is stimulated to activate the wound healing process. Topical anesthesia is applied on the portion of the scalp where PRP will be injected. To prepare the scalp for PRP application, a special micro needling roller device is used, injecting the highly concentrated PRP into different areas of the scalp within minimal pain.
If the hair follicles or hair roots are healthy, the growth of the hair is healthy. Hair follicles survive on the nutrition they get from blood supply. If we introduce platelets by administering PRP in the area of damaged hair follicles, it amplifies the body’s naturally occurring wound-healing mechanism. Some doctors around the world believe PRP can be used to stimulate the growth of hair follicles preventing hair loss.
Mild discomfort is expected during the treatment. You can return to your normal activity almost immediately, but your scalp needs protection from the sun and excessive irritation.
There are many benefits of using PRP treatment to promote healing for hair growth. Highly concentrated growth factors in the form of platelets have been shown to generate new hair growth, thicken thinned out hair, and make hair transplants grow thicker and healthier.
Not everyone is an ideal candidate to undergo this procedure. Patients who have an active infection in the scalp, history of a viral infection like shingles, diabetes, any clotting disorder, or patients who are on blood-thinning medications like aspirin and immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporine are not candidates for this procedure.
If hair follicles are completely lost, this procedure is less likely to be effective, in that case patients may need to opt for hair transplant surgery.
The procedure takes one to two hours depending on amount of hair loss. Since an inflammatory process is initiated at the wound site, there may be mild pain or discomfort felt by the patient at the site where PRP is injected.
Patient are not advised not to take any anti-inflammatory medication since it may interfere in the natural healing process of PRP.
Patients generally have to receive this treatment multiple times before they can see any results. However, some patients may only have to undergo this therapy once a year.