A new treatment to help men fend off their worst fears of losing their hair is sweeping the globe. Doctors have been reporting huge successes using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) hair loss treatment in a bid to help men rejuvenate their hair in bald patches.
It is a three-step treatment that involves doctors drawing blood from the patient, processing the blood to find the platelet-rich plasma and then injecting it into the site where hair growth is needed.
PRP has been used for various health conditions and illnesses since the 1980s, but it has only been recently that doctors have started using it for hair growth.
What are the three steps?
Firstly, the doctors will withdraw the blood from the arm of the patient – 20mls is needed for the procedure. Stage two is inserting the blood into a machine that spins at high speed and separates the blood into different fluids – platelet-weak plasma, platelet-rich plasma and red blood cells. This takes about 10 minutes. Then the final stage is injecting the platelet-rich plasma into the place where hair growth is needed. The entire process will take about an hour.
How long does it take?
Patients have to undergo three treatments over the four-to-six-week period. They then have to have maintenance treatments every four to six months. Patients can usually return to their usual daily routines straight after the procedure – there shouldn’t be any downtime necessary and patients should not show any signs or traces of the procedure the following day.
How effective is it?
This procedure is still in its infancy and clinical trials to show proof of efficacy of this procedure are going. But anecdotal evidence is suggesting success from many doctors. In a review of 19 different studies involved more than 400 people in 2019, most studies reported that PRP treatment did actually lead to hair growth.
What are the side effects?
Because you are reinjecting blood into your body, there are some risks to be aware of. There may be injury to blood vessels or nerves, there may be scar tissue and there may be infection as the injection site. But there is no risk of any communicable diseases as you are using your own bloody for the procedure.
It can be painful when the injections are being administered, so doctors will often use a cooling spray or a topical anaesthetic to help ease the discomfort for patients.
Can anyone undergo this procedure?
There is quite a list of people who would not be suitable for this type of procedure. It is recommended for people with mild to moderate hair loss or thinning hair. Anyone who is on blood thinners, heavy smokers or anyone who has a history of alcohol or drug abuse would be advised against this type of procedure.
Others who might be rejected by doctors include people diagnosed with cancer, chronic liver disease, metabolic disorder, low platelet count, sepsis or thyroid disease.
Men and women are both turning to this type of treatment, it is not just for men.
How much does it cost?
Each session starts from $400 dollars, so the total treatment over the four to six week is between $1,500 and $2,000. The price will depend upon where you are based, the clinic you use and whether you add any nutrients into the plasma before it is injected back into the scalp.
How long does it last?
This is still being established and it will differ from person to person, but doctors do recommend maintenance injections every four to six months to ensure continued results.
Is it safe?
PRP therapy is generally considered safe as you are using your own blood and it takes place in a sterile environment. There can be side effects and doctors are strict on who can and can’t have the procedure, but for a healthy candidate there should be very few side effects or problems.
PRP therapy itself does not need FDA approval, but in the US the device that is used needs to be approved.
Who can I go to for PRP therapy for hair loss?
This is not a widespread procedure at the moment, so you will have to do your research to find a doctor to carry out the treatment. It is important to do your research and find a clinic and a doctor who is qualified and experienced in this procedure. Don’t just opt for a clinic that is offering the best price or special deal. And make sure you sit down with a doctor and discuss the procedure to ensure it is the right route for you before you commit.
PRP therapy for hair loss or thinning hair is in its early stages in the aesthetic industry. But, the signs are that the treatment is here to stay and will only get more and more popular as clinical studies provide the evidence and more and more doctors opt to offer the treatment as part of their aesthetic clinic portfolios.