To understand how PRP hair restoration works, we need to look at the work blood platelets do inside our bodies. When a person gets a cut, injury or burn, platelets rush to the injury to help form blood clots and to begin the healing process.
Our blood contains four main components, which include:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
Platelets contain proteins and growth factors that can stimulate tissue and wound healing. PRP contains a high concentration of platelets that release the growth factors, stimulating growth of hair follicles at their base in the scalp.
There are several steps in the PRP treatment process including:
- A medical professional draws blood from a vein in the arm
- Blood is placed in a container which is placed in a centrifuge
- Centrifuge spins rapidly for 10 to 15 minutes
- Platelet rich plasma rises to the top of the container, separated from other blood components
- A medical professional extracts the platelets using a syringe
- Injecting PRP into scalp where hair has thinned to stimulate follicle growth
The plasma blend which is injected into the scalp during PRP treatment is referred to as golden serum because of its yellowish color.
“We’ll take the plasma from that liquid and we will gently insert it back into your scalp utilizing very tiny needles,” says Castellon.
Most patients will receive four to six treatments, each spaced about one month apart, to achieve the desired results. Results can normally be seen within three to six months.
When is PRP Hair Restoration Used?
Providers typically use PRP hair restoration treatment when hair loss results from androgenetic alopecia, a common condition that causes hair follicles to shrink in men and in women. In men, this is called “male pattern baldness”.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common cause of hair loss among both men and women, affecting up to 40% of women and 70% of men.
The condition involves several visible characteristics:
- Reduced hair density
- Reduced diameter and length of the follicles
- Thicker hair follicles transition into thinner follicles
Some providers recommend using PRP hair restoration treatment in combination with the topical minoxidil (Regaine) or oral finasteride (Propecia) to treat androgenetic alopecia.
How Can I Prepare for PRP Hair Restoration Treatment?
While the actual hair PRP hair restoration treatment procedure is simple, comfortable and relatively quick, there are a few things to consider when a patient is preparing for the treatment.
The platelets are pulled out of the patient’s blood, so it’s important to make sure the blood does not become too thin before a PRP hair restoration treatment to minimize the risk of bruising.
The patient should take a few precautions prior to their procedure:
- Avoid using NSAIDs, blood thinners and herbal supplements (garlic, ginko, and vitamin E) for two weeks prior to treatment.
- Do not color or dye the hair 48 hours before and after treatment.
- Drink plenty of water during the 24 hours prior to injection to ensure proper hydration, so the maximum amount of plasma can be collected for the treatment.
The actual procedure involves a mild anesthesia applied to the scalp to minimize any discomfort. Patients usually have no restrictions on their normal activities after completing a PRP hair restoration treatment.