Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autologous preparation of platelets in concentrated plasma. The normal platelet count range is 150,000–350,000 per µL of blood. In platelet-rich plasma, the RBC count is lowered to 5 while the platelet count is increased to 94% (three to eight-fold greater than normal). In addition, it contains platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor (TGF) and other bioactive proteins that aid in wound healing and possibly hair growth.
PRP is ‘autologous’, meaning that it comes from the patient’s own body.
Growth factors in platelet rich plasma (PRP) have been used to facilitate wound healing. Recently, studies have suggested that PRP may also serve as a safe and effective treatment option for male and female pattern hair loss.
How is platelet-rich plasma prepared?
- Blood is withdrawn from a patient’s arm by syringe.
- The tubes containing withdrawn blood are placed in a centrifuge and spun using a carefully determined protocol.
- The speed and duration of centrifugation are very important to ensure the platelets are not damaged.
- Centrifuging separates the red and white blood cells and platelets and concentrates them at various levels in the tubes.
- Blood plasma that is rich in platelets is drawn off from the appropriate level for therapeutic use.
- An activating agent (eg, calcium chloride) is added to activate the platelets and release their content prior to use.
- Predictable and efficient compact systems to develop PRP are available commercially and can be used in office and hospital settings.
After collection PRP is placed into a syringe and reintroduced into the treatment site i.e., either the surgical site or an area of hair loss.
PRP therapy typically consists of three treatments in a 4–6 week period, with maintenance treatments every 4–6 months.
Is PRP hair loss treatment a permanent solution?
PRP treatment requires maintenance sessions every six to twelve months to continue producing positive results. Although PRP treatment has been shown to encourage hair growth and thicken hair in areas that have been treated, it will not prevent new bald areas from forming in untreated areas of the scalp. Response to PRP will differ between patients and it is not known how long the benefits will persist.
Are there any side effects of PRP hair loss treatment?
There were no major adverse effects such as scarring, progressive worsening, or infections after PRP. Notably, mild headache, tolerable and temporary pain during treatment, mild itching and desquamation, and transient edema may ocur.