Everyone loses hair. In fact, it’s normal to lose about 50-100 hairs every day – a loss most people typically do not even notice as it is quickly replaced with regrowth. But if you see bald patches or excessive thinning, you may be among the 80 million adults (50 million men and 30 million women) in the United States who struggle with the effects of hereditary hair loss. Other names for this type of hair loss are male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia. These numbers do not include the millions more who experience thinning hair because of pregnancy, menopause, stress and other health conditions.
Fortunately, there are more treatment options available today than ever before to treat thinning hair. The effectiveness of different options depends on why the hair loss has occurred, the extent of loss, and the individual response to treatment. Generally, experts agree that treatment is less effective if hair loss is severe. Treatment is most effective when a correct diagnosis is done to evaluate the underlying condition.
One exciting new advance in the field of hair loss treatment is Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP, therapy.
Locally, Dr. Steve Springer, family medicine physician with Imperial Health, medical staff physician with CHRISTUS Wound Care Center, and Medical Director and owner of Renew Medical Spa, is using PRP to reverse hair loss with impressive results. "Many people think of platelets as the component of blood that coagulates wounds. However, the function of platelets is for more than just forming clots,” he explains. "When activated, they produce special proteins and growth factors, acting as an integral part of wound healing. It’s this function of platelets that have led to their use in a variety of medical applications, including wound healing, sports injuries, cosmetic treatments, and now, for hair loss.”
He explains that if the hair follicles or hair roots are healthy, the growth of the hair is healthy. Hair follicles survive on the nutrition they get from blood supply. "If we introduce platelets by administering PRP in the area of damaged hair follicles, it amplifies the body’s naturally occurring wound healing mechanism.”
PRPtherapy for hair loss is a simple, non-surgical procedure. Dr. Springer says the patient’s blood is drawn and put into a centrifuge to separate the PRP from the normal whole blood. Once this is done, it’s formed into a gel that that contains abundant growth factors and stem cells and placed into a syringe. Topical anesthesia is applied to numb the area to be treated. The scalp is then stimulated with a dermaroller to activate the wound healing process. Immediately, the highly concentrated PRP is injected in the areas of the scape where hair loss is a concern.
The complete treatment time is 60 to 90 minutes, and will vary based on the area(s) being treated. PRP treatments are completely natural, with no side effects. They can be repeated as often as every two weeks until the desired results have been achieved. Regular treatments may be needed to maintain the results. For many people, this may just be once or twice a year, says Dr. Springer.
As with any medical treatment, PRP is not an option for everyone, according to Dr. Springer. "The best candidate for PRP is someone who has recently started losing hair. It won’t work for those who are completely bald, and it won’t regrow all your lost hair. It’s a treatment; not a cure. We’re increasing the diameter of the hair follicle, strengthening the follicle, and keeping the hairs that would stop growing in the growing phase.”
For more information about PRP therapy, call Renew Medical Spa at 337-436-3840.