Hairs are rooted in separate hair follicles, a tiny sack embedded in the dermal layer of your skin. It is a complex organ that contains more than 20 different cells with different functions. Its function is comparable to the placenta of a fetus. Without an active functioning follicle, hair cannot survive and will fall out.
Hair follicles are threatened by some diseases including alopecia (hair loss), hirsutism (excess hair), and lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disorder). We are concerned here with alopecia, more particularly, androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness. Pattern baldness affects more than 60% of males and less than 10% of females.
The cause of female pattern baldness is not well-known. Male pattern baldness is a product of genetics and male hormones. Hair follicles gradually shrink and become dormant, inactive, and unable to sustain hair growth and nourishment. However, the dormant follicles do not necessarily die, which means they can be rejuvenated.
Hair Replacement Treatments
Hair cannot be replaced or rejuvenated without active healthy follicles. Hair replacement involves a surgical procedure that transplants hair along with healthy functioning follicles to the bald spot.
Hair rejuvenation is another matter. Hair cannot be rejuvenated without the presence of healthy follicles. Many products and devices on the market claim to grow hair. Few are effective. Sometimes they are simply no good. Mostly there is an absence of healthy follicles.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
An emerging hair restoration therapy is the injection of platelet-rich plasma. It has been a proven treatment for other purposes including treating injuries and damage to tendons, ligaments, joints, and muscles.
Does it Work for Hair Loss?
While the jury is still out, several studies have shown evidence that PRP is an effective viable treatment for rejuvenation of hair growth. Among other studies, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery published the results of a study of 262 androgenic alopecia patients.
The study found that PRP is likely to reduce hair loss and increase the density of existing hair. However, they concluded that more studies are required because of the small sample size and different treatment regimens for that group of patients. A similar conclusion was reached by a study published by Dermatologic Surgery.
How does it Work?
Platelets are blood cells, like white and red blood cells. They form in bone marrow, and they then circulate in the bloodstream and bind together when they see damaged blood vessels. That is, they promote blood clotting.
Once the bleeding has been stopped, the damage must be repaired. Platelets contain proteins that help the healing of damaged tissue by bringing collagen, oxygen, and other elements needed for cell repair. PRP employs those proteins to rejuvenate dormant hair follicles.
What to Expect?
A PRP treatment is a safe, simple pain-free procedure performed in your dermatologist’s office. At the start of your treatment, a sample of your blood will be drawn and placed in a centrifuge. Platelets will be separated in the centrifuge and isolated. When injected, it will form a highly concentrated mixture of platelet-rich plasma.
The PRP will then go to work to heal and rejuvenate your dormant or damaged hair follicles. The procedure takes about an hour. You can return to your work or daily routine immediately in Delray Beach, FL after a treatment session.
PRP is not a cure for the underlying causes of pattern baldness. Therefore, PRP must be repeated periodically. Typically, the procedure must be repeated with boosters every 3-6 months.
At Delray Beach Plastic Surgery in Delray Beach, FL we have had much success with PRP treatment for pattern baldness. Our staff has more than 20 years of intensive experience in all phases of aesthetic/cosmetic plastic surgery, including PRP.