Male-pattern hair loss, also called androgenic alopecia, affects a large number of men. An estimated 50% of men will have visibly thinning hair by the age of 50, and close to 85% of men will be affected by age 75. Some men are affected by hair loss as young as age 20. Women are also affected by androgenic alopecia, and around 50% of women aged 60 or older experience visibly thinning hair. Although hair loss has no medical consequences, it can be psychologically devastating for both men and women alike.
Current treatments for androgenic alopecia are rather unsatisfactory. There are some medications (e.g., finasteride) that can stop the hair loss process. However, they tend to have significant side effects and do not work well at all for women.
In addition, they only stop the hair-loss process, and do not initiate re-growth. A topical agent (minoxidil) can stimulate some hair re-growth in some people. The only other options are hair transplants and wigs.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is prepared from the patient’s own blood in a simple, quick in-office procedure. Basically, the platelets present in the blood are concentrated. The normal role of platelets is to help heal injuries. When the body suffers an injury, the platelets at the site of the injury rupture and release clotting factors, to quickly stop the bleeding, and they also release large amounts of growth factors, to help heal the injury.
Doctors have been using PRP to help heal acute and chronic injuries and surgical wounds for many years. More recently, PRP has been used to reverse the effects of aging in procedures such as Vampire facelifts and P-shots.
PRP and Hair Loss
Recently, a number of researchers have reported that PRP may be a break-through treatment for hair loss. A recent randomized controlled trial reported excellent results. The patients were treated with three sessions of PRP injections, at monthly intervals. One-half of the scalp was given PRP, and the other half of the scalp was given placebo injections.
The patients were followed up for two years. Improvement in hair thickness and counts in the PRP-treated areas were noticed as early as two weeks after the last treatment. The improvements were maintained for 12 months in all patients; after 12 months, 20% of the patients started to see progressive hair loss from the PRP-treated areas. No side effects of the PRP treatments were reported by any of the patients.
What to Expect
During a PRP procedure, a normal blood sample will be taken. The PRP is prepared in the clinic, a process that only takes about 10 minutes. Then, using a tiny needle, PRP will be injected into multiple areas of the scalp. If necessary, a numbing agent can be applied to the scalp before the injections.
Multiple treatment sessions at monthly intervals will be necessary to achieve the desired result. To maintain the good results, regular annual re-treatment may be necessary.
Because the PRP is prepared from the patient’s blood, there is no risk of infection transmission or reactions. There is a theoretical risk of infection due to the injection procedure. No other side effects of PRP have ever been reported.
If you are interested in hair restoration, contact MD Beauty Labs today to schedule your consultation.