Who is a good candidate for hair restoration with PRP?
PRP targets “androgenetic alopecia”, the hereditary hair thinning that affects both men and women. PRP therapy works better if your hair loss is recent. It is more challenging to “wake up” hair follicles that have been dormant for a long time. At RESTOR we tell people “We can get your hair back to what it was five years ago”. If your hair loss is older, you may see some recovery with PRP but generally speaking, you may benefit more from hair transplant surgery.
Part of the success of PRP comes from selecting the right patients for therapy. PRP is safe for everyone – as it comes from your own blood, but it is not effective for everyone. You should not have PRP therapy if you have an underlying disorder which is driving your hair loss such as thyroid disease or lupus. You aren’t likely to have good results because these conditions will continue to cause hair loss over time.
What is platelet-rich plasma/platelet rich fibrin?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (a.k.a) Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) is a therapy that uses your own cells to support and re-grow your tissue. Platelets contain the tools that your body normally uses to regenerate after injuries and wounds – and although it often sounds too good to be true – when you apply it to tissue – sink, hair, ligaments inside the knee, etc – that tissue will regenerate.
To make PRP/PRF we draw a small amount of blood from your arm and spin it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets into a small amount of plasma – hence the name platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. Platelet-Rich Plasma is gaining in popularity for the same reasons athletes and celebrities choose it: because of its organic nature and most importantly because it works. Bonus: Since PRP and PRF use plasma and platelets from your own blood, the side effects are practically nonexistent.
Why do platelets rejuvenate tissue?
Platelets are cells in the blood that help tissue heal and regenerate after an injury. Your platelets are packed with molecules called Growth Factors – and this is no accident. Think about what happens when you cut your skin: it bleeds, and platelets flood the wounded area to form a clot. And then what happens? New skin grows. Have you ever thought about how amazing that is? Have you ever wondered how that is possible? The answer is that the platelet’s job is to carry Growth Factors to the site of an injury in order to stimulate the local tissue and Stem Cells to regenerate wounded tissue.
So what happens when you flood the roots of stressed and aging hair with concentrated platelets? The Growth Factors do their job, naturally ‘waking up’ the cells in the hair root and growing new capillaries to carry nutrients and oxygen to the roots of stressed and dying hair.
Every natural process in your body happens gradually over time, and hair regeneration is no exception. When PRP is delivered under the surface of the skin, You will start to see the differences in about 3-4 weeks and will continue to see improvement for another few months after that. We generally recommend three treatments one month apart for hair restoration – with full results seen at 6 months.
PRP treatments are not permanent since they only help to keep existing hair in the growing phase. Without maintenance treatments, hair density on the scalp will return to baseline (pre-treatment levels). However, results can be actively maintained with treatments every 6 months.
How does PRP therapy differ from other hair restoration treatments?
Like all treatments – there are some things that PRP/PRF is very good at, and other things that it cannot do. PRP stimulates and supports stressed hair follicles. If the follicles are dead, PRP will not be able to help. Therefore – PRP works best as a preventative measure for people with thinning hair – but not very well for people whose hair loss is complete. As a general rule of thumb – if you are healthy, and are having gradual age-related thinning – but have not actually lost too much of your hair – then PRP/PRF may be a great choice for you. If, however, if the skin where your hair used to be is shiny and smooth, then PRP will likely not work and hair transplant surgery is likely to be your best option.
If the root cause of your hair loss is something other than simple aging – such as auto-immune disease, thyroid disorders, or nutritional deficiencies – PRP will not be the right choice for you. In cases such as this – addressing the root cause of your hair loss will be needed before PRP can be beneficial. PRP can be used in conjunction with any other hair restoration treatment – such as Propecia or Rogaine – or to help support transplanted hair survive after surgery.
What should I expect during my prp hair restoration treatment?
To regenerate hair, PRP has to be delivered to the root of the hair. This is done with a series of small injections along the thinning area of the scalp. For males this tends to be the front of the scalp and the crown, female age-related hair loss tends to be more diffuse across the whole scalp. These injections are generally not considered to be especially painful – but we can use topical numbing cream, or Pro-Nox (laughing gas) to increase your comfort during the procedure. The injections typically take about 10-15 minutes to perform. We initially being with a series of three treatments one month apart, and then one treatment every 6 months to maintain your results.
After your treatment, your scalp may be slightly red and sore for 24-48 hours. We recommend nothing on your scalp for 6-8 hours, and that you avoid astringent shampoos for 24 hours after your treatment.
What happens during a hair restoration treatment with PRP/PRF?
All PRP treatments will require a blood draw - the same procedure used when your doctor draws blood for testing. The amount of blood we use depends on the size of the area we are treating – but a good rule of thumb is that we will need about 10ml (2 teaspoons) per palm-sized area.
We will inject using a very fine needle in a grid pattern over the area of thinning hair. Patients often feel a sensation of mild heat or itching under the skin as the PRP is injected. This will resolve in a few hours.
How long does a PRP treatment take?
Door to door a hair restoration treatment will take about 30 minutes. If you chose to use numbing cream, this will be applied for about 15-20 minutes. While you are numbing, we will draw your blood to spin and prepare the PRP/PRF for injection. The injections themselves take just 10-15 minutes.
How long is the recovery time?
You will have mild swelling and tenderness for about 2-3 days. You may have small bruises at the injection sites, but these are generally mild and resolve quickly.
Are there any complications?
Since PRP is created from your own bloodstream, there have been no recorded complications from its application aside from mild bruising and swelling in the few days after the injections.
When will I see results?
PRP stimulates your body to regenerate, so the results are gradual. You will start to see them within one month after your treatment, with full results at three months. We generally recommend 3 treatments spaced about 4-6 weeks apart for you to see the full effects, with one treatment every 6 months for maintenance.
How long will my results last?
Once you have gotten the full benefit from a series of PRP injections, the results last 1 year to 18 months. One treatment every six months will be able to maintain your results essentially indefinitely. If you do not get a full series of PRP injections, your results will not last as long.
Can any skin type use PRP?
Yes. Since PRP comes from your own body, it can safely be used on any skin type.
How long has PRP been studied?
PRP has a 30-year history of being used in orthopedic surgery, dentistry, and rehabilitative medicine. It has been used in plastic surgery and dermatology for about 10 years. Scientific studies dating back 30 years have documented that PRP stimulated the growth of new tissue when applied to wounded or injured areas of the body. Studies over the last 15 years have shown that PRP grows new collagen when injected into the skin, and more recent studies show that PRP can soften sun damage and other aging skin issues.