Combat Hair Loss With PRP Therapy

Combat Hair Loss With PRP Therapy

June 30
09:37 2016

 Article Highlights

  • About 21 million women experience hair loss, and that’s only considering women in the U.S.
  • Clinically undetectable hair loss can damage the quality of life of patients
  • PRP is derived from the patient’s own body, there’s little risk of allergy, hypersensitivity or foreign-body reactions

Not only does hair play a role in suggesting a person’s health and vitality, it acts as a form of self-expression and communication for many women. That’s why it can be so emotionally distressing when women start to experience hair loss. Hair loss triggers a whole range of feelings such as anger, depression and shame. Shame stems from the common belief that only men lose hair—that’s far from the case. About 21 million women experience hair loss, and that’s only considering women in the U.S.

Telogen effluvium (TE) is the most common cause of diffuse hair loss in adult females. It’s described as an abrupt and rapid shedding of hairs that happens two to three months after a stressful, triggering event. Some of the most common triggering events include: accidental trauma, major surgery, emotional stress and childbirth. Several studies show that hair loss tends to cause negative feelings and poor self-esteem in women. Psychologists and dermatologists have seen that even clinically undetectable hair loss can damage the quality of life of patients. These patients have lower self-esteem and a loss of self-image.

One of the available treatments to address hair loss is called PRP therapy, also known as platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP involves the use of a person’s concentrated plasma from their own blood to stimulate the growth and repair of different organs and tissues. The process begins by collecting the patient’s blood and spinning it down in a device called a centrifuge. It’s spun at varying speeds until it separates into three layers: platelet poor plasma (PPP), PRP and red blood cells. These platelets release powerful growth factors to heal wounds. Specifically for hair loss, the main goal of PRP therapy is to deliver high concentrations of growth factors by making injections to the scalp to stimulate hair regrowth.

Almost any healthy person can undergo PRP treatments, says Dr. Alan J. Bauman, a hair restoration surgeon at Bauman Medical Group. However, in his experience, he’s noticed that two types of patients have the greatest hair regrowth results from PRP. The first type has areas of “weak quality” hair growth on the scalp; this means their functioning hair follicles can still be seen. The second type has small areas of alopecia areata.

Before beginning treatments, the physician will conduct a medical hair loss workup. The patient must provide a detailed medical history. Some of the covered details include family history, history of medical illness, hair care regimen and current medications being taken.

Patients need multiple PRP injections to see and maintain their results. Each session takes about an hour to complete. For the patient’s comfort, their scalp is prepared with antiseptic solution and anesthetic to numb it before injections are made.

“Hair growth improvements can typically be measured in about three months, but it takes six to 12 months to visually ‘see’ the difference in photos and in the mirror,” mentions Dr. Bauman.

These results aren’t permanent—he says that published studies have reported that patients may need repeated treatments every other month. He recommends combining PRP with Extracellular Matrix (ECM) such as ACell or BioD for a stronger and longer hair growth result. With this combination, the average hereditary hair loss patient requires a repeat PRP with ECM treatment annually to maintain their hair growth results.

As well as seeing improved hair growth, patients benefit from the overall safety of PRP therapy. Since PRP is derived from the patient’s own body, there’s little risk of allergy, hypersensitivity or foreign-body reactions. Patients don’t have to worry about downtime after treatment, either. They can return to everyday activities immediately and wash their hair normally several hours after their appointment.

Dr. Bauman believes the main risk of PRP is when a doctor uses careless or outdated techniques and equipment. That could result in a poor outcome.

“PRP is not suitable for patients with blood and platelet disorders, chronic liver disease or an active severe infection,” adds Dr. Bauman.

Most patients experience inflammation and numbness on their scalps for a few hours after treatment. Swelling is rare, but if it does happen, it’s noticeable in the forehead or around the eyes the day after treatment.

“Any swelling takes about a day or two to resolve,” assures Dr. Bauman.

It’s essential to look for a well-trained physician who specializes in this field.

“Look for a full-time ABHRS board-certified hair restoration physician and Fellow of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery rather than a plastic/cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist,” recommends Dr. Bauman.

This ensures that a thorough hair loss evaluation will take place. That includes standardized photos, scalp dermoscopy and pre-treatment measurements using a HairCheck device to track the progress in the early stages.

He also encourages patients to find a physician who uses PRP with ECM like ACell or BioD-Restore. Patients should expect to get long-lasting results through this combination—it also reduces the hassle and expense of frequent treatments.

Deep Body Media Corp.

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Java Nguyen

Java Nguyen

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