PRP (Plateled Enriched Plasma)
What is the PRP used for?
The treatment with Platelet Enriched Plasma is a novel technique that allows to isolate and use the growth factors present in the blood of the patient to boost, accelerate and stimulate the regeneration of tissues.
Surely you have heard about this treatment in sports medicine, since it is very common in the treatment of bone, muscle and joint injuries of elite athletes.
Its application at the capillary level stimulates the formation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, also increasing vascularization at the level of the hair follicle, which is why it is indicated to slow hair loss and promote regeneration in patients with moderate hair loss.
How does the treatment work?
PRP (treatment with platelet-rich plasma) consists in the introduction of plasma rich in growth factors that are released by the patient’s own platelets through microinjections in the scalp in a practically painless way. Anyway, to avoid small discomfort, local anesthesia or cold can be applied.
To obtain the plasma rich in growth factors, a small blood extraction is taken from the patient and the plasma fractions are separated by controlled centrifugation. Next, the “platelet-rich plasma” is injected at the capillary level to stimulate its regeneration. Once the treatment is finished, normal activity can be resumed immediately.
The potential for the use of PRP to promote growth and hair healing after hair transplantation focuses on three functional applications:
- Preserve and improve the viability of the hair follicle during and after a hair transplant.
- Stimulate and enhance tissue repair and healing after hair transplantation.
- Revitalize inactive hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.
Preserve and improve the viability of the hair follicle
Between the time the hair follicles are removed from a donor area of the scalp and transplanted into a recipient area, they are subject to damage for several reasons:
- Dehydration if the donor follicles are not sufficiently moistened between the extraction and the transplant.
- Oxygen and lack of nutrients because they have been diverted from the blood supply from the collection period until the time of transplant.
- Temperature and changes in acid / alkaline levels in the environment of the follicle.
- Revascularization injury when donor follicles are transplanted to the recipient site and must re-adapt to having a blood supply.
Stimulate and enhance tissue repair and healing
In the activity of stimulating the repair and healing of tissues after a surgery injury, the growth factors stored in the platelets are released at a point of tissue injury, stimulating repair and healing of the tissues. Individual growth factors such as PDGF have been used by surgeons to stimulate wound healing in hospitalized surgical patients.
The rationale for the use of PRP in ambulatory surgical hair restoration patients is to use the full range of growth factors associated with platelets to stimulate healing and minimise scar formation, as well as to stimulate hair growth at maximum transplanted follicles.
A described method of applying PRP to incisions in the scalp is performed by injecting a PRP gel into the wounds at the time of suturing them. Doctors and researchers who use this procedure have described better healing at the transplant site.
These reports are usually individual cases or a small number of cases. These reports do not meet the definitions of clinical trials that, for example, are required in the United States to obtain specific FDA approval for the use of PRP in hair transplantation with efficacy and safety claims. Some investigators suggest that PRP should not be used routinely in hair transplantation to stimulate healing, but that it may be useful in patients who have had a previous injury or who have scars at the transplant site.
Researchers who oppose the routine use of PRP in hair transplants cite the need for additional data from well-designed clinical trials.
Revitalise the “sleeping” hair follicles
After observing an increase in the growth of transplanted hair after the use of PRP, the researchers carried out a small study of the effect of PRP on non-transplanted hair follicles. The study hypothesized that platelet growth factors can “wake up” inactive hair follicles and begin the production of new hair. The PRP was applied after lightly injuring the skin of the scalp to cause the platelets to release growth factors at the site of the lesion. During the following four months, an improvement of hair growth and its diameter was observed, with a reduction in hair loss after four months. This use of PRP is still considered experimental, with the need for further studies.
Does the use of PRP have any contraindications?
For the PRP, the person’s own blood is used. There are no risks in relation to allergic reactions or infections. It is similar to a blood donation to oneself.
The effect of the PRP can be different in each person who receives it. The application of the treatment with Platelet Rich Plasma is a simple method of help for a faster recovery; besides favoring the success of the transplant.