What is Platelet Rich Plasma?

What is platelet rich plasma and how can it aid in hair restoration? Read on to find out it is being used by the Griffin Hair Restoration Center of Philadelphia. 

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is the product of one’s own blood obtained by centrifuging a sample of blood drawn from the arm. PRP as the name implies, contains platelets, which are the blood clotting cells in the blood. These cells are very active in the early phases of wound healing and contain growth factors in their cytoplasm which promote wound healing. PRP injection is considered a form of Regenerative Medicine and has been used mostly in the field of Orthopedics where it helps patients with arthritis and with ligament and tendon injuries. Recently, PRP has shown a great deal of promise in the field of hair loss and is used as a scalp injection to promote hair growth.

In the interest of providing our hair loss patients with every potentially effective therapy, The Griffin Hair Restoration Center of Philadelphia provides PRP injections in conjunction with hair replacement surgery. In our practice PRP is used to enhance the results of hair replacement surgery by bathing the grafts in PRP and by injecting the recipient site with it prior to implantation of harvested grafts. The growth factors in PRP speed healing of the grafts and enhance hair regrowth once they are implanted.

In addition, we use PRP injections as a standalone treatment for various types of hair loss. Although there are no case controlled studies published in peer reviewed medical journals proving efficacy, there appears to be significant anecdotal experience by physicians in the hair restoration field suggesting that PRP may be effective in promoting hair regrowth in some hair loss patients. Dr. Griffin, in addition to being a dermatologist specializing in hair loss, is also a dermatopathologist. As such he studies the microscopic effects of PRP in each of his hair loss patients.

PRP injections are given in a series of 4 injection sessions spaced 2-3 months apart. In each session, the entire affected area of scalp is injected using a local anesthetic. The patient is evaluated and photographed before starting treatment and at each subsequent visit. There is no downtime to speak of after treatment, although swelling and redness may occur. Results are not expected to occur immediately, but rather in 6-9 months, although there may be cases in which hair regrows earlier and in some not at all. There are no guarantees with this treatment. Results are expected to be better in patients who still have some hair follicles left to stimulate and therefore are expected to be better in the earlier phases of hair loss. That being said, the biologic potential of PRP is great and may yield surprising results in some patients.