At Advanced Regenerative Therapy in Savannah, GA and Buford, GA, we get a lot of questions about PRP hair restoration. Among these are how quickly does PRP hair restoration work, how does it work, how long do the results last, and am I a good candidate. Our goal here is to answer the most frequently asked questions we get about this treatment to help you determine if it is a good solution for your restorative needs.
How Quickly Does PRP Hair Restoration Work?
PRP hair restoration produces noticeable results after just four to six weeks. However, it may be approximately 3.5 months before you see the results you were looking for. Due to the hair growth cycle, ideal results can take up to three sessions spaced one month apart to become apparent.
How Long Do the Results of Treatment Last?
There are several tricky things about PRP hair restoration. For example, if you do not diagnose and treat the cause of your hair loss, you will experience localized hair growth after PRP therapy, but more hair will fall out of other parts of your scalp. Certain causes of hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia, can’t be cured. They can only be treated with PRP therapy or other regenerative treatments.
Therefore, until you reverse the underlying cause of your hair loss, such as stress or taking certain medications, you will need follow-up treatments once or twice a year. While PRP therapy for hair growth is still in its infancy from a medical research standpoint, years of evidence suggests that you can expect the benefits of treatment to last for years if you address the condition currently causing hair loss.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
PRP hair restoration works thanks to the growth factors found in the platelets of your blood. The most exciting thing about platelet-rich plasma therapy is how concentrated the platelets, and, subsequently, the growth factors, are. These super-concentrated growth factors essentially tell your hair follicles to spend more time in the growth phase.
What Is the Usual Growth Cycle of Hair?
The four stages of the hair growth cycle are the anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen stages, also known as phases. The first stage of the growth cycle is known as the anagen, or growing, phase and can last anywhere from two to seven years. The length of this phase determines how long your hair will grow. The catagen, or transition, phase lasts for roughly 10 days and is characterized by shrinking hair follicles.
The telogen, or resting, phase is the third phase in the hair’s life cycle. Anywhere from 10 to 15% of your hairs are in this phase at any given time. After your old hair has completed its transition phase, and it is in its resting phase, new hair starts to grow. The fourth and final phase is the exogen, or new hair, phase. During this phase, 50 to 150 hairs usually fall out daily to be replaced by new hair.
What Can I Expect During Treatment?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a simple three-step process. It starts with safely drawing a bit of your blood. Then, the blood is spun rapidly in a centrifuge. Finally, it is injected into the regions of your scalp experiencing significant hair thinning or loss.
The first step in platelet-rich plasma therapy for PRP hair restoration is drawing a sample of your own blood. Depending on how much hair loss you have, you can expect for approximately 20 ml of your blood to be drawn: a process that only takes a few minutes.
Depending on how much blood was drawn, the processing of your blood will take between 12 and 15 minutes. When whole blood is spun in a centrifuge, its components become separated by weight. Once this has been achieved, we will safely discard the red and white blood cells and combine the platelets with the plasma, resulting in platelet-rich plasma.
The third and final step of treatment is to inject the platelet-rich plasma into your scalp where you are experiencing hair loss. Since the skin on the top of your head is so thin, we apply a numbing medication to the area before treatment to ensure your comfort.
Does Treatment Hurt?
There is nothing painful about treatment whatsoever. When your blood is drawn for treatment, it will feel just like your blood being drawn for a medical exam. You will feel slight pressure or a “pinch” as the needle is inserted, but it’s neither painful nor uncomfortable.
If you’re afraid of discomfort from the needle, we will talk to you during your initial consultation about taking a mild sedative to calm your nerves or an analgesic that will not cause a potential contraindication with this treatment.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
To determine if you’re a good candidate for this treatment, it’s important that you schedule an initial consultation. This is usually done in person, however, Dr. Meglin is currently offering the opportunity for a consultation via video chat. During this consultation, he will review your medical history, family medical history, and lifestyle to determine the cause of your hair loss.
Depending on your diagnosis, this treatment may be appropriate for you. Once he determines if this treatment will help you achieve your aesthetic goals, he will ensure that you are healthy enough to receive treatment. Among the medical conditions he looks for are pregnancy, nursing, blood diseases, and other blood disorders and heart conditions.
Pregnancy and Nursing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has thoroughly reviewed platelet-rich plasma therapy for safety and efficacy for various medical and cosmetic conditions. There are very few circumstances that were not tested and deemed to be safe, but the FDA has not tested the safety of this hair restoration treatment in women who are pregnant or nursing.
If you are pregnant or nursing, we strongly recommend that you wait three to six months after you’re done nursing before you seek this therapy. This gives your body plenty of time to destress and recover from the incredible demands of providing nutrition to another human.
Blood Diseases and Other Blood Disorders
It is also not advisable to receive this therapy if you have certain blood diseases or blood disorders. For example, you are not the ideal candidate for this treatment if you have naturally thin blood or a blood clotting disorder that requires you to take an NSAID, like baby aspirin, every day. We’ll touch on this more in a minute.
Other blood conditions that may preclude you from being a good candidate for this treatment include low platelet count and platelet dysfunction syndromes. Remember, this treatment works because it injects platelet-rich plasma into your scalp and the platelets contain growth factors that tell your hair follicles to grow thicker hair for a longer period of time than it has recently. Low platelet counts may result in only moderately effective treatment.
You are also not the ideal candidate for this treatment if you have certain heart conditions, such as heart disease or a significantly high risk of heart disease. If you have a heart condition, there is a very good chance that you are taking a blood thinner that your PCP will not tell you to stop taking.
Unfortunately, when you take a blood thinner, your blood may become too thin. If your blood is too thin, you may experience mild-to-moderate bruising. While this doesn’t put your health at risk, we like to mitigate the risk of potential side effects. Also, the bruising may not occur on your scalp at the injection site between all your existing hair. It may occur in your elbow.
Remember, when considering if you are a good candidate for this regenerative treatment, we look at your lifestyle. If you smoke or consume too much alcohol daily, you’re not an ideal candidate. Certain drugs, including cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine in daily doses in excess of 300 mg, elevate your blood pressure. While thin blood is bad, high blood pressure is also bad.
If you smoke, drink alcohol, or consume over 300 mg of caffeine daily, you will need to wait to schedule treatment until your blood pressure has fallen to within a “normal” range. While caffeine has a half-life of fewer than 24 hours, it can take up to six weeks for your body to normalize after your last cigarette or alcoholic beverage.
Why Am I Losing My Hair?
Remember, whether you are a good candidate for this treatment depends, in part, on the cause of your hair loss. If there is a cause that you can correct, this treatment will be extremely effective. If, however, the cause of your hair loss is genetic, the results of treatment will only last between a year or two. Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss.
Medications and Supplements
Surprisingly, one of the most common causes of hair loss is probably in your medicine cabinet. Drugs and dietary supplements that can cause hair loss include blood thinners and high doses of vitamin A. If you take a nutritional supplement that provides over your RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin A, look at switching your supplement for a more permanent hair loss solution.
Other drugs that can cause hair loss include chemotherapy and anabolic steroids. If your doctor has prescribed you with anabolic steroids for anemia, ask if there is a viable alternative for you. If you are taking anabolic steroids that were not prescribed by your doctor, stop. Side effects of such steroids go far beyond hair loss.
Two other common causes of hair loss include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. To ensure the longevity of your PRP therapy results, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement therapy if your hair loss is due to thyroid issues.
There are several treatment options available for hyperthyroidism, including anti-thyroid medications, thyroidectomy, beta-blockers, and radioactive iodine. To ensure your hair does not continue to fall out or thin significantly after PRP therapy, it’s crucial that you address your chronically underactive or hyperactive thyroid if that is the cause of your alopecia.
Learn More About PRP Therapy for Hair Growth Today
It only takes around three months to see the results you’re looking for with PRP hair restoration. After that, you may need follow-up sessions every six to 12 months. However, this is only the case if your alopecia is not caused by genetics. If your hair loss is caused by a variable you can control, like stress or diet, the results of treatment can last for years if you correct the direct cause of hair loss.
Rest assured, if your alopecia is caused by genetics, the self-confidence you will carry with you every day of your life is worth far more than the hour or two per year you have to attend a pain-free session. To learn more about this treatment, please contact us today at Advanced Regenerative Therapy in Savannah, GA to book an appointment.