Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is a substance that’s thought to promote healing when injected. Plasma is a component of your blood that contains special “factors,” or proteins, that help your blood to clot. It also contains proteins that support cell growth. Researchers have produced PRP by isolating plasma from blood and concentrating it.
The idea is that injecting PRP into damaged tissues will stimulate your body to grow new, healthy cells and promote healing. Because the tissue growth factors are more concentrated in the prepared growth injections, researchers think the body’s tissues may heal faster.
The treatment hasn’t been definitively proven. It also hasn’t been approved as a treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
HOW DOES PRP WORK?
Human blood contains mesenchymal stem cells, and autologous blood products that contain essential and specific growth factors that assist in tissue regeneration and healing. Published medical literature from Europe and the United States confirms the safety and use of PRP therapy. It has been used a medial adjunct therapy for over two decades for skin and wound healing. PRP therapy has established itself to be effective as a medical treatment modality in the specialty fields of oral surgery, neurosurgery, plastic and cosmetic surgery, sports medicine and orthopedics. It has been used extensively in these specialties for the last twenty years with generally positive outcomes and success. In the field of hair restoration, evidence supports PRP therapy as a promising treatment option to promote hair growth. No claim can be made of its efficacy. While PRP is in the early stages of scientific research in hair restoration, PRP is not meant to replace current FDA approved therapies such as DHT blockers and Minoxidil. But it is a promising non-surgical therapeutic option for those patients with hair loss.
Blood is drawn in our office as though you are having routine blood testing at your primary care physician’s office. The blood is spun in a centrifuge and the PRP is separated and removed from the rest of the blood.
The PRP is taken from your body and is specially prepared by spinning down the blood cells to a high concentration. We use Healeon’s Medical PRP System. It is a closed sterile system and the platelets are concentrated to 3X the normal blood values. The system eliminates granulocytes which hurts tissue regeneration and wound healing. An anesthesia block is given to nerves of the scalp so the patient does not feel any pain. The highly concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into the scalp. The patient’s hair is then washed and the patient may drive home without any assistance. No sedation or any medication is given during the procedure to inhibit the ability to drive or use machinery.
PRP contains many growth factors that stimulate the hair follicle’s growth. PRP can be used preoperatively, intraoperatively, or post operatively. Some patient’s chose to have PRP performed every three (3) to four (4) weeks as early data suggests regular or semiannual PRP treatments that may stimulate hair growth.
What are the potential side effects of PRP?
Because PRP involves injecting a substance into the skin, there are potential side effects. PRP is autologous, which means it contains substances that come directly from your own body. This reduces the risks for an allergic reaction that can occur from injecting other medications, such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are risks from the injection itself, including:
pain at the injection site
You should discuss these potential risks with your doctor, as well as the steps your doctor will take to minimize these risks.