What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)?
This is a relatively new therapy that uses plasma that has been enriched with more platelets than it would normally have. The plasma is obtained by putting whole blood, which is taken from your own body, into a centrifuge and extracting the plasma and platelets. The plasma and platelets are then recombined, but instead of sticking to the original ratio, the machine adjust it so that it has extra platelets. The resulting formula is considered platelet-rich.
What is Done with the Platelet-Rich Plasma, and Why?
Once the platelet-rich plasma is obtained, it is typically injected into the area to be treated. However, in some cases, other means of getting it to the targeted body part are used.
Typically, the goal is to speed healing of the targeted body part. It has been used by athletes to treat their injuries so that they can return to professional competition sooner. However, its use is spreading beyond this original vision. One of the most interesting new uses is to promote or restore hair growth.
What Can Platelet-Rich Plasma Treat?
Platelet-rich plasma first became known as a treatment for problems like sprained knees and tendon injuries, as well as to speed healing after surgery or after an injury like a broken bone. It has also been used to treat arthritis.
Since this therapy is so new, some medical professionals are still calling for more studies. However, it is known that it is no riskier than cortisone injections, with the main side-effect being some pain at the injection site.
While the injury treatment side of medicine is showing its usual high level of caution, this isn’t so much the case with the cosmetic side. One of the biggest new developments in cosmetic treatments is the use of platelet rich plasma therapy to treat hair loss.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy for Hair Loss
Even though platelets are most well-known for their ability to stop bleeding, this isn’t the factor that makes them good for treating hair loss and other conditions. Instead, doctors are using platelets’ ability to stimulate cell reproduction and healing. By concentrating platelets, it is believed that this effect can be increased.
Treating hair loss with platelet rich plasma therapy typically involves injecting the plasma into the scalp. The growth-promoting hormones in the plasma then stimulate hair follicles to grow and produce more hair. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that it can also be used to speed healing after hair transplants. Many clinics offer it as a standalone treatment, finding that the therapy itself is often enough to treat male pattern baldness.
The results of this treatment are not immediate. For hair loss, it can take six months before a difference is prominently visible. Repeat treatments may be needed to keep the effects active.
When treating hair loss, platelet-rich plasma is still derived from your own blood. How much of your blood is needed will depend on how many injections you need, among other things. Since you are the source of the plasma and platelets, you won’t have to worry about issues like rejection or contamination.
How well this therapy works depends on the cause of your hair loss. For some, other therapies, or a combination of treatments, will work best. To determine the best treatment for your hair loss, schedule a consultation with one of our experts here at Valley Skin Institute in Fresno, CA. Call today to request an appointment to get started.