If you’re suffering from hair loss chances are you’ve heard about platelet-rich plasma (PRP). In fact, some notable celebrities like Kim Kardashian have made this treatment popular by coining it the “vampire treatment”. Don’t worry it doesn’t involve any stakes through the heart or garlic necklaces, but it does involve using your own blood. Intrigued? Well, keep reading.
What Is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma is derived from whole blood, centrifuged to remove red blood cells. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentrated source of blood plasma and autologous conditioned plasma. PRP contains several growth factors and cytokines. Blood is made up of two main components, red blood cells and plasma. The plasma contains white blood cells and platelets, which are rich in growth factors. Growth factors work by signaling the production of new cells.
How Does PRP For Hair Loss
To date, the clinical evidence and data for the efficacy of PRP for the treatment of genetic hair loss is scarce. However, many swear by the treatment and it’s benefits for the thickening of existing hair and regrowth of hair. However, one study published in the Stem Cells Journal a randomized placebo-controlled study was conducted on 23 patients suffering from hereditary hair loss. The results were impressive and the individuals who participated in the study saw significant improvements in hair density. PRP is thought to promote hair growth by stimulating stem cells and growth factors to reinvigorate hair.
How is PRP Performed
PRP is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in a doctor’s office for a short period of time. First, the physician’s will draw the patient’s blood from their arm and place the blood in vials that are placed in a centrifuge. A centrifuge is a machine that spins the blood and separates the red blood cells. After the blood is placed in the centrifuge for several minutes, the blood will be separated into three layers platelet-poor plasma, platelet-rich plasma and red blood cells. The physician then draws the platelet-rich plasma into a syringe that is then injected into the patient’s balding areas.
Unfortunately, the clinical data and scientific evidence is severely lacking for the treatment of androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) using PRP. However, there is some anecdotal evidence online that suggest the treatment could be effective in thickening existing hair. Currently, there are only two medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, the medications are Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil). The only treatment than can regrow hair on a completely bald scalp is surgical hair restoration.