Platelet rich plasma is widely used in medicine. It's been used in orthopedic surgery for fractures, in spinal surgery for bone grafting, sports medicine, and in ophthalmology. It is a safe procedure in which about 50 cc of blood is drawn from the arm and the blood is separated into platelet rich fraction by use of a centrifuge. Platelets are fragments of cells that contain growth factors that aid in wound healing and the formation of new blood vessels and new cells. Platelet-derived growth factors have been shown to stimulate the growth of hair follicles.
By centrifuging the blood, we are able to concentrate the number of platelets from 200,000 to millions of platelets which accelerates the growth of cells by providing more growth factors to an area. This technique has been used since 2007 for hair restoration.
When hair thinning occurs, the hairs reduce in size, a process called miniaturization. In androgenetic alopecia, also called male or female pattern baldness, over time, many or all of the hairs continue to decrease in size until they disappear. The cause of hair miniaturization is poorly understood but occurs under the influence of testosterone. Therefore use of androgen inhibitors like Propecia have shown effectiveness in slowing this process.
Platelet derived growth factors injected back into the scalp stimulate the hair follicles to increase in size with the resultant increase in hair shaft diameter. Studies have shown that hair growth starts at about 6 weeks and increases over a period of 6-12 months. The best candidates are patients who still have hair follicles and PRP can be used in combination with Rogaine or Propecia or even LaserCap or hair transplantation. The treatment can be repeated if desired in about a year.
There is no downtime after the procedure which takes about 30 minutes and is performed under local anesthetic. There is a mild sunburned sensation in the treated area for 1-2 days but the hair can be shampooed the next day. There is no risk of infection. and normal activities can be resumed immediately.