PRP stimulates hair growth. It decreases hair loss and increases hair volume and strength. And it is made from your own blood!
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
PRP is a mixture of platelets and plasma and is derived from a small sample of your own blood.
The diagram above shows 3 important elements contained in the blood:
red blood cells
white blood cells
These 3 components are suspended within a special liquid referred to as plasma. Plasma along with these 3 components makes up blood.
Platelet Rich Plasma is basically a sample of plasma with just platelets. What we are actually doing with PRP is taking a small sample of blood, spinning this blood in a special device called a centrifuge and separating the platelets and plasma from the red and white blood cells.
Platelet Rich Plasma in hair transplants and growth
PRP decreases hair loss and increases hair volume and strength. It is a stimulator of hair growth. I like to divide non-surgical hair restoration treatments into stimulators and Inhibitors. PRP along with Oral/Topical Minoxidil and Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) are the stimulators as they stimulate hair growth. Finasteride and Dutasteride are the Inhibitors as they Inhibit or stop the action of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which attacks and destroys hair follicles.
The main benefit of PRP is in its ability to reawaken or reinvigorate miniaturized hairs on the scalp, that have been damaged by long term DHT exposure. In addition, it is extremely useful in the preservation and enhancement of hair follicle viability during and after hair transplantation.
What makes PRP so special?
Platelets contain lots of very important natural growth factors that enhance and accelerate your body’s normal healing processes. PRP is essentially a super concentrate of platelets in a very small sample of plasma. While a normal concentration of platelets circulating in your blood is 200,000 per microlitre the platelet count in PRP can exceed 2 million. When you have such a powerful concentration of platelets in a small sample, you can deliver these platelets and ALL the growth factors to the part of the body that could benefit from it.
Where is PRP used?
It has been used in orthopaedic medicine for many years to help promote healing and repair of joint injuries, tendinitis and ligament tears. In fact, it has been widely used in sports medicine where it is injected into the shoulder or knees, helping athletes get back to being match-fit quicker than they otherwise would with traditional surgery or medication.
More recently, PRP has made its way into the cosmetic sphere where it is used for facial or skin rejuvenation. You might be familiar with the Vampire Facelift which refers to the injection of a patient’s own PRP into the face to help rejuvenate and repair the skin.
It's not surprising that PRP would eventually reach as far as the world of hair restoration. Although there are no randomised control studies to compare the effects of PRP vs placebo for hair loss, anecdotal evidence is extremely promising, with many hair transplant surgeons seeing great results world-wide.
What are growth factors?
A growth factor is a natural occurring substance that can stimulate growth at a microscopic level. Platelets contain all the necessary growth factors to control and regulate tissue repair and rejuvenation within the body, particularly in areas of injury.
Is the PRP safe?
The simple answer is yes! As PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood, it is safe to re-inject it back into the same patient. PRP from one patient should never be injected into another patient. The procedure is performed by your treating hair transplant/cosmetic surgeon and only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare. The procedure is carried out under sterile technique and the equipment used is 100% disposable.
How is PRP prepared?
The centrifuge will spin the blood and separate the red and white blood cells from the platelets and plasma. The Platelet Rich Plasma is then extracted and placed in small syringes, ready for injection into the scalp or area of hair loss. Melbourne Hair Transplant Clinic utilises the Regen PRP SystemTM. 10 mLs of your own blood is taken through a sterile syringe and placed in a special Regen centrifuge for 3-5 minutes.
How much does it cost?
Regen PRPTM requires the use of special PRP tubes which help with the extraction, separation and activation of platelets. It is not a simple matter of removing some blood, placing it into any old test tube and spinning it. In addition, your hair transplant surgeon requires special training in the use of PRP and the ability to monitor and follow up its results.
Each PRP session will cost $800 excl. GST and will take half an hour on average. Most patients will require 3 sessions, 1 month apart initially. Results should be visible at around the 6-9 month period. To maintain results, it is advised that patients have a PRP session every 10-12 months depending on individual response.
It is extremely important to understand that results will vary between individuals and detailed pre and post photos and density measurements are essential to gauge the response. It is possible not to see any benefit at all but this is uncommon.