Is This New Solution for Hair Loss Right for You?
Some say bald is beautiful, or simply don’t mind a little hair thinning. But if you ask others experiencing hair loss, they will tell you it can be embarrassing and make them self-conscious. They throw on hats, try different hairstyles or use camouflage products and toupees to disguise their thinning hair.
It doesn’t matter who you are, this genetic condition can affect both men and women at different ages. In fact, age-related hair loss affects over 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. Previously, the only available treatments were oral medications with potentially bothersome side effects, or expensive hair transplantation treatments.
A newer treatment option called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is offering people concerned about hair loss a more long-term solution with promising results and fewer side effects. Henry Ford dermatologist Alison Boucher, M.D., explains what the treatment is and how it works.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
“Platelet-rich plasma is a product derived from your own blood,” explains Dr. Boucher. Blood is made up of two main parts – red blood cells and plasma. The plasma contains platelets which are responsible for clotting the blood and starting wound healing at the site of an injury. In the scalp, it has been shown to help stimulate hair growth. In fact, multiple scientific studies have found increases in hair count and hair thickness after injections.
How does the PRP injection treatment work?
A dermatologist offering PRP treatments can easily perform this procedure in their office. He or she will draw some of your blood and put it in a machine called a centrifuge, which spins it down, separating the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood. This plasma is then injected into your scalp at the level of the hair follicles – across the entire area of hair thinning and hair loss.
“The whole procedure is relatively painless and does not even require any numbing or pain medication,” says Dr. Boucher. “And the entire procedure only takes about 30 minutes.”
Because the plasma is from your own blood, there is virtually no chance of any negative reaction to the treatment. There is a slight chance that you might experience bruising or mild discomfort around the areas treated. Other than that, you should be able to go right back to your normal schedule after the procedure.
Dr. Boucher recommends you get a series of four to six treatments to see full results and to jumpstart the hair regrowth process. Many patients start to see results after the first two or three treatments. It takes time for hair to grow back, though, and hair can continue to regenerate several months after the last treatment. After that, you may want to get another round every six to 12 months to support continued growth.
Typically, insurance does not cover this procedure since it is cosmetic, so talk with your doctor to see if this is the best solution for your hair loss, as well as your budget.
Fortunately, though, this treatment is a long-term solution for hair loss. “This treatment can help you regrow hair and prevent further hair thinning and hair loss,” Dr. Boucher says. “It is something that you can continue long-term and it has no real risks or side effects.”
Is this the right treatment for you?
“Anyone with hair loss is a good candidate,” says Dr. Boucher. “But most scientific research has been done on the use of PRP for the treatment of hereditary age-related hair loss.” Typically, patients with early hair loss respond better to treatment, so don’t wait to talk to your doctor.
Related Topic: Could It Be a Thyroid Issue? 10 Surprising Symptoms
As of now, this procedure is only studied and used to treat hair thinning and hair loss of the scalp. If you are looking for treatment options for a patchy beard or if you are trying to generate hair growth elsewhere on your body, talk to your dermatologist about your options.
Talk with your doctor to decide if this treatment is something you think you would be interested in.
If you are interested in learning more about PRP treatments, call (313) 916-2151.
To find a doctor or make an appointment, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (434 7936).
Dr. Alison Boucher is a dermatologist who sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Centers in West Bloomfield (Farmington Road), Detroit (New Center One) and Troy.