PRP for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Using Platelet-Rich Plasma
Platelets are the workhorses of wound repair. They are the critical element the body uses to clot blood and begin the process of healing a wound. If platelets can perform these restorative functions with wounds, what if you used their restorative capabilities to restore thinning hair or to rejuvenate the skin?
You can do exactly that with two new procedures at Dr. Epstein’s: platelet-rich plasma for hair restoration and platelet-rich plasma added to microneedling for skin rejuvenation.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Platelets contain various protein growth factors, and provide the critical healing element of the blood. You may have heard of the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) by professional athletes to speed the healing of joints, tendons, and muscle tissue. Platelet-rich plasma is generated by removing red and white blood cells from blood. What is left is plasma, the clear fluid that makes blood liquid, and the platelets. But now the platelet ratio is higher, four times higher, thanks to the removal of the red and white cells. Now you have platelet-rich plasma.
How is PRP Done?
Dr. Epstein begins the process by taking a small amount of blood from the patient, similar to how much a doctor takes for normal lab work. We then place the blood in a closed, sterile centrifuge system that spins at a high rate and separates out the different components of the blood. We remove the red and white blood cells, and now we have PRP ready for reinjection.
Why Does PRP Rejuvenate Hair Growth?
Platelets are healing miracle workers, so it makes sense that if you have four times the amount of platelets as in normal blood, PRP could work some magic. Platelets promote healing, accelerate tissue regeneration, and stimulate new cellular growth. They do this through various protein growth factors:
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) — Promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, and collagen production.
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — Promotes growth and generation of vascular endothelial cells.
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — Promotes growth of new skin cells, would healing, and collagen production.
- Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-b) — Promotes growth of skin cells and blood vessels necessary for wound healing.
- Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF-2) — Promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessels.
- Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) — This is the regulator of normal physiology in nearly every type of cell in the human body.
When PRP is injected back into target areas such as the scalp and the facial skin, the serum triggers a wound response, where healing platelets create a fibrin mesh. This initiates production of new collagen. Collagen is the protein in the body that is responsible for providing a basic support structure for the skin. It keeps the skin firm, yet supple, tenets of young skin.
How is PRP For Hair Restoration Done?
Once we collect your blood and concentrate it down to platelet-rich plasma, we then numb the scalp with a steady stream of super chilled air. This minimizes the discomfort during the injections. Next, Dr. Epstein injects the PRP back into your scalp in dozens or small injections. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes and you’re good to go.
How Does PRP Help Regrow Hair?
Although the use of PRP for skin rejuvenation, hair restoration, and other treatments is currently being studied in large clinical studies, it’s thought that PRP stimulates the stem cells and other cells in the microenvironment of the hair follicles. The idea is to stimulate hair follicles that have become dormant or inactive, returning them to the active growth phase of the hair growth cycle. More follicles in the growth cycle mean more hair growth. It’s thought that the various growth factors in PRP provide the stimulus.
Is PRP Hair Restoration Painful?
We use the Zimmer Chiller in our office to reduce discomfort during the injection process. The Zimmer Chiller blows supercooled air onto the injection site to provide a numbing sensation. We also have the ProNox® (link to ProNox) nitrous oxide (“sweet air” or laughing gas) available to improve your injection experience. This puts you in a relaxed state of unawareness which lasts for only a few minutes. After ten minutes, it is completely out of your system and you can drive home.
Schedule A Consultation
If you would like to know more about PRP for hair restoration, call our Stony Brook office at (631) 689-1100 to schedule a consultation.