PRP for Hair Loss
Advantages of PRP
Quick nonsurgical procedure
Effective for both Men and Women
Performed in the office
Safe and consistent results
Rapid recovery with little to no downtime
Once the stuff of science fiction, the regenerative benefits of platelet rich plasma are now being brought to the public by a select group of plastic surgeons.
Hair loss is a very common problem for both men and women affecting an estimated 60% of men and 40% of women by age 35. Until now, options for treatment of hair loss were limited to topical medications such as Rogaine, pills like Propecia or surgical hair transplant.
Today Dr Shaw is utilizing the power of regenerative medicine via the newest technique in hair restoration known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to safely and effectively restore hair without the need for surgery or pills. PRP unleashes the power of your own body to encourage dormant hair follicles to grow new hair. PRP therapy is a quick, in office procedure with very little downtime which can safely restore a thick and healthy head of hair.
Below are answers to common questions regarding PRP for hair loss:
What is PRP?
PRP is plasma (the liquid component of our blood without cells) that contain a level of platelets at a much higher concentration than is normally found in whole blood. It is plasma with an enriched level of platelets. The technique for obtaining PRP is very similar to what happens when you donate blood: whole blood is separated by blood banks into its contents: red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
PRP has been used in medicine to heal orthopedic injuries, dental procedures, wounds and more recently in facial rejuvenation to restore vibrant and healthy skin.
How does PRP work to restore hair growth?
Our body’s platelets have a critical job in the process of healing. For one, they begin the process of clotting, and then more importantly, send signals to the body to begin the healing and tissue growth process. These signals are called growth factors, which start and then enhance tissue recovery and tissue growth. PRP releases more than ten of these important growth factors.
The most important growth factors in hair restoration are:
• Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)—promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, skin formation;
• Transforming growth-factor-beta (TGF-b)—promotes growth of matrix between cells, bone metabolism;
• Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)—promotes blood vessel formation;
• Epidermal growth factor (EGF)—promotes cell growth and differentiation , blood vessel formation, collagen formation;
• Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2)—promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessel formation; and,
• Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)—a regulator of normal physiology in nearly every type of cell in the body.
The most common form of hair loss known as androgenic alopecia results from the effects of the converted form of the hormone testosterone in our body known as DHT. DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink and die off. When PRP is injected into the scalp, the growth factors rejuvenate the hair follicles affected by DHT and makes them start growing again. This results in an increased number of active hair follicles, and thicker, healthier hair.
What Happens During the PRP Hair Restoration Procedure?
The procedure itself is quick and simple, with very little downtime. First, the scalp is thoroughly cleaned. Patients are given the option of using a topical numbing cream during the procedure, but given Dr Shaw’s experience in injections and the use of a Zimmer cold air chiller, many patients do not need numbing medication.
A small amount of blood is drawn from your arm, just like having standard lab work done. The blood is then placed in special tubes and spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and plasma from the red and white blood cells. The blood draw and PRP separation takes about 15 minutes to complete. The platelets and plasma are then harvested, leaving behind the other cells.
Once the PRP is prepared by Dr Shaw, very small needles are used to inject directly at the level of the hair follicle. This is where an expert injector is very important to have the best outcome. Dr Shaw has many years of injecting experience and will place PRP at the precise depth to maximize your result. Depending on the amount of hair loss and the areas affected, this part of the procedure takes from 5 to 15 minutes.
After the procedure, patients can return home and resume normal activities. There may be some mild soreness that can be remedied with Tylenol or cooling.
What is the recovery like after PRP Injection?
Patients can wash their hair with baby shampoo within 2 hours of the procedure. Ice may be placed on the injected areas for 24 hours after as needed for comfort or mild swelling. We recommend refraining from styling products which can irritate the scalp for 36 hours post procedure, and avoid coloring for 2-3 weeks. You may immediately resume a normal diet and activity level. If you are using a topical medication such as Rogaine, this may be resumed the following week.
How Many Times Will I Need to Have the PRP Procedure?
Dr. Shaw has developed his PRP protocol based on studies performed and written in plastic surgery and dermatology medical journals.
In order to give you optimal results, Dr Shaw recommends a series of 3-4 PRP injections performed at monthly intervals. Most patients begin to notice improvements after the second procedure, though there are some patients who see more hair after only one.
After the initial sessions, patients should have repeat procedures about every 6 months to maximize their results.
What Are the Risks of PRP?
Because the PRP is autologous, meaning it comes from your body, the risks of the procedure are very small. There is almost no chance of an allergic reaction or other untoward event. Most commonly seen risks are soreness and swelling at the injection site, and temporary bruising.
What About Combining ACell with PRP for Hair Restoration?
ACell is a product that has shown great promise in the field of regenerative medicine, and is used by some surgeons as an adjunct during PRP injection to purportedly enhance hair growth. Unfortunately, there have been very few studies in the medical literature to support this claim.
ACell is derived from bladder tissue of pigs, and therefore introduced the possibility of a patient developing an allergy to the animal (pig) protein when placed into the scalp.
Given the lack of definitive study and the risk of allergy, Dr Shaw does not currently use ACell in combination with PRP injection.
Is PRP approved by the FDA?
Just like a blood transfusion does not require FDA approval, the PRP injection procedure does not require approval.
The medical devices used to obtain PRP are medical devices and are thus covered by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Federal law requires that the medical device manufacturers obtain clearance or approval for the products before offering them for sale for use in a medical office.
If you are one of the millions of men or women suffering from hair loss, make an appointment with Dr Shaw for a free consultation to see if platelet rich plasma can help give you a thick and completely natural head of hair. Call us at (804)775-4559 to schedule.