What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and How it Can Change Your Life

Fortes-Medical-SMP-2

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that has been widely used in treating a wide array of conditions[1] and has more recently shown promising results in treating Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease which can affect men, women and even children. The autoimmune system of an affected person attacks the hair follicle causing the hair to fall out in round patches[2].

Traditionally, treatment for Alopecia Areata has involved medication taken orally, injected or applied topically. These medications either suppress the immune system to reduce hair loss or facilitate hair re-growth. Most often patients are required to use a combination of medications[3].

A typical PRP treatment however, involves extracting a sample of the patient’s blood. This blood is then spun in a centrifuge in order to separate the platelets from the rest of the plasma. An agent is then added to the solution to activate growth factors. The platelet-rich solution is then injected back into the patient’s scalp and stimulates hair follicles to grow.

Some of the potential benefits of PRP are as follows:

  • No surgery required

PRP treatment is a non-invasive procedure that does not require surgery or the after care that accompanies surgery.

  • Fewer treatments for longer lasting results

Some oral medication requires daily intake in order to maintain hair growth. Forgetting to take medication daily or stopping it altogether can result in a return of hair loss. Unlike oral medication, PRP requires monthly treatments and results may last from between six months to a year. In a study conducted by V. Cervelli et al, five men were injected with PRP injections for pattern hair loss, while the remaining five men were injected with a placebo. Each patient received three treatments one month apart. Following three treatment cycles “improvements were seen in the mean increase of 18.0 hairs in the target area and a mean increase in total hair density of 27.7 (number of hairs /cm2)[4]”.

  • A viable option for women experiencing hair loss

As PRP does not affect hormones it is a treatment that is suitable for both men and women. Studies conducted by P. Singhal et al[5] and M. Gkini et al[6] included both male and female participants.

  • Compatible with hair transplant

PRP can increase hair regrowth in patients with who have undergone a hair transplant. In one study transplant patients who received PRP injections all saw hair regrowth greater than 75%, while only 4 patients in the control group saw this level of regrowth[7].

The existing research highlights the effectiveness of PRP in treating Alopecia Areata. It to be expected that future research will further solidify these findings. In the mean time PRP is a viable, non-surgical option that can free a patient from a daily routine of medication and achieve longer lasting results.

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[1] a href=”https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20378248″>https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20378248. Accessed 05/07/18 at 11:04 am.

[2] a href=”https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/alopecia-areata”>https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/alopecia-areata. Accessed 07/07/18 at 16:51pm.

[3] a href=”https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/alopecia-areata#treatment”>https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/alopecia-areata#treatment. Accessed 07/07/18 at 05:23 pm

[4] Cervelli, V. et al. The effect of autologous activated platelet rich plasma (AA-PRP) injections on pattern hair loss: Clinical and histomorphometric evaluation. BioMed Res. Int. 760709 (2014).

[5] Singhal, P. et al. Efficacy of platelet-rich plasma in treatment of andogenic alopecia. Asian J. Transfus. Sci. 9, 159-162 (2015). http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC4562137. Accessed 05/07/18 at 12:05 pm

[6] Gkini, M.-A., et al. Study of platelet-rich plasma injections in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia through a one-year period. J. Cutan. Astheric Surge. 7, 213-219 (2014). http://www.jcasonline.com/article.asp?issn=0974-2077;year=2014;volume=7;issue=4;spage=213;epage=219;aulast=Gkini. Accessed 05/07/18 at 12:06 pm

[7] Garg, S. Outcome of Intra-operative Injected Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy During Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant: A Prospective Randomised Study in Forth Patients. J Cutan. Aesthetic Surg. 9, 157-164 (2016)