Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, also commonly referred to as “Vampire PRP,” is one of the hottest new treatments to become available for hair loss sufferers. But how exactly does this new „vampire” therapy breathe new life into failing follicles, and is it right for you?
While PRP therapy is relatively new in the field of hair restoration, it has been widely used in orthopedics, dentistry and plastic surgery for decades now – even professional athletes like LeBron James and Tiger Woods have used it. What initially began as a way to repair damaged nerves, tissues and bones is now being seen as a way to stimulate this same type of cellular growth cosmetically, and in the case of androgenetic alopecia, as a way to restart dead or dying hair follicles and produce new natural growth.
But what exactly is it? In short, PRP is a therapy that uses modified blood to stimulate hair growth. A simple blood-draw from the patient is performed, and the blood is then spun in a special centrifuge and specially processed to produce the PRP—a powerful growth factor “cocktail.” Platelets are then chemically ‘activated,’ releasing powerful molecules, which have profound biologic effects on hair follicles and skin. Under comfortable local anesthesia, this powerful cocktail of growth factors, cytokines and other proteins is injected into the area of scalp where weak hair follicles exist. Currently, there are a few different PRP options to choose from: Autologel PRP, or PRP with ACell/Matristem—a product derived from pig’s bladder, or PRP plus BioD/Amniogenix human amniotic stem cells.
About PRP for Hair Regrowth:
In addition to being a viable new treatment for hair loss patients, PRP is proving to be a valuable tool during hair transplantation. During the transplant process, PRP has been reported to strengthen non-transplanted hair, improve graft survival, and minimize donor scarring and accelerate wound healing. PRP can also be used to store grafts while they are outside the body awaiting implantation.
A growing number of patients continue to be drawn to PRP due to its quick and non-invasive nature. The outpatient procedure takes less than one hour and requires no downtime for patients. Mild soreness or swelling, if any, resolves in less than a day and improved hair growth can be measured in a matter of weeks. This increased patient demand has led the number of doctors seeking training in PRP begin to offer it to their patients to skyrocket over the last couple years.
How do you know if PRP is right for you?
If you are suffering from increased hair shedding, decreasing volume, weakening hair quality or a loss of coverage on the scalp, you may be a candidate for PRP hair growth treatment. The first step is to get a detailed and comprehensive medical hair loss evaluation by a hair restoration physician, who can determine if you meet the necessary requirements for optimal results.
While PRP may not be a “cure” for baldness, it has proven to be a valuable tool in treating it. As with all hair loss treatments, PRP is most effective when started early, before the hair follicles have been completely obliterated. The areas of the scalp where the hair follicles are producing hair fibers that are thin, wispy and weak is where PRP holds the greatest potential, and where the therapy can really make a difference. To achieve optimal results, patients may require a multi-therapy approach, depending on the severity of the patient’s hair loss, and their goals. PRP may be used as an adjunct to FDA-approved medications like finasteride or minoxidil, or other therapies like low level laser therapy, compounded Formula 82M minoxidil, nutritional supplementation and minimally invasive FUE hair transplantation.
Alan J. Bauman, M.D.
Medical Director / Hair Transplant Surgeon at Bauman Medical Group, P.A.