Over the past few years, cell therapy – in the form of growth factors, cell multiplication, and stem cells- have been the hottest area of potential innovation in many areas of medicine. Hair transplantation is no exception, and there may be potential.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, using the patient’s own blood which is centrifuged to separate out this special component, is being actively testing in hair transplantation. Rich in growth factors and platelets (one of the human body’s most potent mediators of healing), PRP is applied to the scalp in several ways to help in the treatment of hair loss. The doctors of the Foundation have been testing PRP as part of their transplant procedures for the past 2 years. While results are still too early to determine the efficacy, the use of PRP has shown few advantages: as a graft storage solution it does not seem to enhance the percentage take of the grafts, and is not as effective as Hypothermasol®, the specialized graft storage solution Dr. Epstein and other FHR doctors are using; injected into, as well as applied a post-procedure healing gel onto the areas of transplants, it does not appear to enhance the rate of hair regrowth nor accelerating healing; however, applied to the donor site it likely improves healing and results in finer line scars. Also, as a stand-alone treatment, PRP has been shown to help in around 30% of individuals with male and female pattern hair loss to help slow down the hair loss process, even making finer vellus hairs thicker and lighter hairs that have lost their pigment darker.
As part of the Foundation doctors’ commitment to bringing the best treatments to patients, PRP therapy is (optionally) provided, for a small additional fee, with the transplant procedure. In addition, because of its healing properties, PRP is offered as well with other aesthetic surgery procedures, such as facelifts and browlifts, where bruising and healing time can both be reduced.
To learn more about PRP, as well as other innovations the Foundation doctors are bringing to their work, please contact us.
THE NEWEST DEVELOPMENT IN HAIR TRANSPLANTATION: Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
As leaders in the field of hair transplantation, we are proud to be among the very first doctors in the specialty to provide patients the latest development, platelet rich plasma (PRP). This form of cell therapy may, once the technique is developed, to become the standard of care, assuming it proves to be as effective as heralded. Over the last several years, cell therapy has been used as a treatment in fields such as cardiology, plastic surgery, and orthopedics, and now hair transplantation is taking its rightful place.
Developed by a research scientist colleague, PRP is obtained from a small amount of the patient’s blood by spinning it in a centrifuge at such high speeds that it isolates the platelets (the body’s mediator of healing) and growth factor proteins. The PRP and growth factors can then be utilized in several ways to maybe one day potentially enhance the results of the hair transplant procedure:
- Added to the scalp where hairs are transplanted, decreasing bleeding and bruising, accelerating healing, and reducing shock hair loss, meaning patients look better sooner after the procedure
- Speeding up and increasing the percentage of transplanted hair growth
- Better healing of the donor site incision – here is where PRP does seem to be effective
Pictured to the left are results of a PRP stand-alone procedure. This patient underwent one session of PRP therapy in our office and the photos were taken 8 months apart. Note these results do not occur in most patients.
PRP is being used in many plastic surgery procedures such as facelifts to reduce bruising, accelerate healing, and improve results of scar healing. Studies have shown that use of PRP in facelifts, for example, decreases the incidence of complications such as blood collections.
As part of our commitment to state of the art care, PRP is now provided with the hair transplant procedure for any patient who desires or is appropriate for it. Furthermore, as the addition to the scalp of PRP can thicken thinning hairs and help reawaken dormant hairs, PRP is also offered as a stand-alone procedure as a treatment for male and female pattern hair loss, where it is occasionally effective in slowing down shedding or active hair loss. Your doctor and/or patient consultant can answer any questions you have about this therapy.