PRP Treatment In Hair Transplant
Written by Hair Transplant Surgeon Ali Emre Karadeniz
Publish Date: 09.09.2019
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is a treatment prepared from one's own blood. A blood sample is taken from the patient, centrifuged using a special kit to get a special concentration in a small volume that contains a high concentration of platelets and then this concentration is injected into the human body for various purposes.
What Is PRP?
PRP is done because it's known that there's a high concentration of growth factors and stimulators within the platelets. This has been used traditionally in various fields of medicine, for instance orthopaedic surgery or in the cranial bones etc.
It has been proven that PRP has some benefits. But the benefits that are found are generally related to the cases when it's used in tissues where there's poor supplies of blood or a lack of growth factors like let's say the knee joint or when there's a let's say bone defect on the cranium. If there are poor growth factors this is enhanced using a PRP therapy.
It's frequently being used in combination with hair transplants and for various situations about hair loss, but this is a controversial topic.
PRP in Hair Loss
What is the scientific current status of PRP in hair loss?
First of all, there are no proven data showing that PRP prevents male pattern hair loss. Don't make a mistake by thinking that PRP can be an alternative for the traditional medical treatments such as finasteride and minoxidil to prevent male pattern hair loss; it's not.
Secondly, when it's used in combination with a hair transplant - it's sprayed over the grafts or it's injected into the donor area, some injecting the recipient area etc. - but the theory behind this is kind of a little bit shaky.
Scalp is very rich of blood flow and there's no lack of growth factors whatsoever. The general thing about supplements, growth factors and vitamins is that taking an excess amount of these usually don't help the body. Since there's no lack of growth factors in the scalp, it's quite unlikely that it's going to help in wound healing or growth at all. There's no scientific data proving this either yet.
The other thing about PRP is that its half-life is very short. When you introduce PRP into the tissue, its effect disappears very quickly within hours. So if PRP did have benefits, you would have to keep injecting this very frequently within days and that's practically not possible. So you can't expect to inject PRP and hope that it improves growth or healing for six months, so that's another problem related to PRP.
Why is PRP so commonly used and heard of? Unfortunately most of those reasons are not scientific. Preparing PRP by taking a blood sample from the patient, then centrifuging it and then preparing this PRP using a kit is not very costly for the clinic. So selling this treatment is actually very profitable and a lot of clinics are very interested in making this profit which I understand.
The other thing is that - and this is very frequent in the practice of hair surgery in Turkey - they introduce PRP to increase the sales of hair transplants indirectly. They'll tell you "we do PRP for free if you have a hair transplant at our clinic".
99% of the time this kind of PRP is fake, it's impossible for the patient to really figure out whether this PRP was prepared properly and many clinics use fake PRP. Some clinics just inject water, some of them inject water mixed with some antiseptic that looks like PRP. Or others will just take your blood, centrifuge it without using the kit - which is the real cost of preparing PRP – and then just take up a concentration which is not actually true PRP and just inject that blood back into your tissues and claim that they do PRP.
Most of these offers of free PRP are not PRP. In fact they can be PPP, which is platelet poor plasma. Because if there's not a certain amount of platelets in the concentration, then it's not called platelet-rich-plasma but it's called platelet poor plasma. Scientific studies show that platelet poor plasma actually makes wound healing worse, so it's even harmful than not doing anything. You have to think about all these considerations when looking at PRP.
- PRP does not have any proven benefits in preventing male pattern hair loss.
- PRP is not an alternative to traditional hair loss treatments, traditional medicine.
- The scalp has a very rich blood flow and is very rich of growth factors, there's no need for extra growth factors. Therefore it's doubtful whether injecting growth factor is going to help growth or healing in any way.
- Offers of free PRP are mostly fake.
PRP is provided as an optional treatment and always done using a professional concentration kit at AEK Hair Clinic.
Written By Dr. Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD, PhD
Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD (Dr. K) is the only American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery Certified Turkish plastic surgeon. He has performed over 2000 hair operations. He is an active member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).