Understanding Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

Posted on January 14, 2019

Dr. Gabel actively strives to holistically address a patient’s hair loss on an individual basis, and this means that he is mindful to remain an expert in both surgical and non-surgical treatment options that can be customized to provide treatment plans for a variety of different patient scenarios and considerations.

One of the most talked about recent developments in the science of hair loss treatment has been platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP). The treatment itself is most often utilized as a proactive therapeutic option for male and female patients experiencing hair loss, typically in the crown of the scalp. PRP has to date proven to be a promising non-surgical therapeutic option for patients who stand to benefit from stimulation of hair growth for their respective hair loss conditions.

It must be understood that PRP is observed to help reinvigorate existing hair to grow in thinning areas and is not observed to regrow hair in completely bald regions of the scalp. Additionally, the efficacy of PRP as a hair loss therapy is still being studied and FDA approval has yet to be cleared for the treatment. Extensive clinical trials are not complete and medical data is not yet published to establish the absolute effectiveness of PRP.

The Medical Science of PRP

Human blood contains mesenchymal stem cells, and autologous blood products that contain essential and specific growth factors that assist in tissue regeneration and healing of the body after a sustained trauma.

The science behind PRP was inspired by revealing research about the nature in which wounds and tissues heal. As a result of these scientific studies, PRP is recognized as an all-natural, autologous medical procedure performed in a medical office by a licensed physician for scalp, skin, and hair stimulation.

PRP therapy originally established itself as a medical treatment within the specialty fields of oral surgery, neurosurgery, plastic and cosmetic surgery, sports medicine and orthopedics. Its diverse applications have given it a positive reputation and it has been applied with many positive outcomes within these respective fields, but it has only recently been applied to hair restoration.

PRP contains special cells called platelets that are thought to promote growth of treated hair follicles by stimulating the stem cells and other cells in the environment surrounding the targeted hair follicle. These special platelet cells promote healing by accelerating the rate and degree of tissue regeneration and impacting the formation of new cellular growth. The mechanism that makes PRP applicable for hair restoration is thought to be the procedure’s ability to stimulate inactive or newly implanted hair follicles into an active growth phase.

PRP specific cells that potentially impact hair growth include the following:
• Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) — promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, and skin formation.
• Transforming Growth-Factor-Beta (TGF-b) – promotes growth of matrix between cells, impacts bone metabolism.
• Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — promotes blood vessel formation.
• Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — promotes cell growth and differentiation, blood vessel formation, promotes collagen formation.
• Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF-2) — promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessel formation.
• Insulin Like Growth Factor – (IGF) — a regulator of normal physiology in most cell types throughout the body.

How is a PRP Procedure Performed?

The procedure involves drawing blood from the patient in a manner comparable to a routine blood test by a primary care physician’s office. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the PRP from the rest of the blood.

The PRP taken from a patient’s body is specially prepared by spinning down the blood cells to a high concentration. All of this transpires within a closed sterile system as the platelets are concentrated to 3X the normal blood values. The system eliminates granulocytes, which are filtered out to prevent any adverse effects upon tissue regeneration and wound healing. After applying an anesthesia, a physician will inject the highly concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) into the designated portions of the scalp being targeted for stimulation.

Some patient’s chose to have PRP performed every three (3) to four (4) months as preliminary studies have suggested that regular or semiannual PRP treatments may provide stimulation for hair growth in treated areas of a thinning scalp. Some surgeons opt to implement PRP into hair transplantation surgery as a means to aid graft survival.

Individual results will vary with each patient.

PRP is not meant to replace or serve as a substitute for current FDA approved therapies such as DHT blockers like finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine). But, it is a promising non-surgical therapeutic option for patients with hair loss, especially female hair loss sufferers, who are forbidden from obtaining finasteride as a treatment option.

Contact The Gabel Center

To learn more about hair loss, the latest medications and the latest techniques in hair restoration and hair transplant surgery, contact the Gabel Center in Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland at (503) 693-1118. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in greater detail.

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