Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment: What Is the Success Rate?

Man combs his thinning hair

Hair loss (alopecia) is more common than you think. In fact, it affects tens of millions of people across the globe. Whether you have thinning hair or are losing it entirely, it can leave devastating effects on your self-esteem. Hair loss can happen because of a number of reasons, including genetics, health reasons, cancers, medications or other health conditions. But regardless of the reason why you’re suffering from hair loss, its effects can be more than just physical. It can cause one to experience a loss of self-confidence or self-esteem, in addition to anxiety, depression and other emotional disorders.

Losing one’s hair is devastating to both women and men because the world connects hair to one’s beauty, youth, and optimal health. If hair is supposed to make one feel more beautiful, losing it can really damage one’s self-image. While it’s still depressing for men to lose their hair, it can be even more devastating for women given it’s a cultural norm for women to have luscious locks in order to be deemed attracted.

But the good news is that there are a number of treatments to help reverse hair loss and one treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular is Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment. While some hair loss treatments require surgical means, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is fairly invasive and simply requires injections into the scalp with the patient’s own blood. It’s a three-step process that first originated in Europe in the 1980s and has been used as a treatment in various other conditions including repairing torn ligaments, muscles and more. It’s even been utilized in other medical areas like dentistry and orthopedics.

Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment involved drawing a patient’s blood like a normal blood draw from the veins in their arm and then placing that tube of blood in a special machine that then separates the plasma and the red blood cells. The plasma is what’s rich in platelets, which contain growth factors, and is then injected into the patient’s scalp at the hair follicle level. The process doesn’t take long to do and is done at about every half inch of a person’s scalp.

Because it’s so invasive, it involves minimal discomfort and some patients actually don’t need to have numbing agents given the pain isn’t intense. Patients also usually don’t require any down time following the procedure. After the first treatment, a patient will need to return for additional procedures, usually once a month for the following three months. After that, they need to return once every three to six months and will most likely need early visit for optimal results.

The Results of Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment

Usually, patients start to notice a difference in the thickness and growth of their hair in about two to three months if they continuously follow recommended treatment protocols. Patients shouldn’t expect a full head of hair after one treatment! Yearly maintenance is also critical to continue benefiting from Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment.

The Effectiveness of Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment

Given that Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment for hair loss is gaining in popularity, patients are seeing success at a growing rate. The highest success rates are with patients that have hereditary baldness or hair thinning problems. However, you might not see success if you have an underlying condition like lupus or thyroid disease since these disorders will only continue to cause hair loss in the long-term. Also, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment might not be effective if you are taking blood thinners as the platelets in your blood won’t be as strong as needed to make the injections really work.

Also, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is better for individuals that have had recent hair loss. That’s because it’s more challenging to try and stimulate hair follicles that have already been dormant for quite some time. If your hair loss is older than a few years, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment won’t be worth your time or money.

Recent research done on Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment does showcase the potential of this innovative hair loss treatment. A study back in 2014 in India saw researchers examining men with male-pattern baldness. After using approved medications, they saw little to no change in new hair growth. However, once they underwent Platelet Rich Plasma Treatments, they experienced about 30% more hair growth in various areas on their scalp. Yet another study in 2017 in Italy also found that male patients using Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment saw more hair and density in areas that were treated with injections.

Also, patients can see about an even higher success rate when coupled with other hair-loss treatments like spironolactone and minoxidil. Yet, another factor in the success rate of Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is having a licensed professional undergo the procedure. A trained and knowledgeable professional will know exactly how to properly inject the scalp, maximizing the effectiveness of the procedure.

Another factor in success is one’s personal hair growth cycle. Hair goes through a dormant period, then a period where it grows fast and then it sheds. These stages then repeat themselves over and over again. That’s why Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment sessions are spread out in order to really hit all of a patient’s hair follicles when they’re barely coming out of their dormant stage and are on the cusp of growing out.

It’s good to note that patients need to be patient when undergoing Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment. They’re not going to automatically see luscious locks after the first treatment but could see small patches of hair growth. However, they’ll definitely notice a difference in a few months. During that time, patients are urged to avoid chemical treatments or using hair products that contain sulfates in them.

Although Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment can be a very effective treatment for hair loss, because it’s so new, the long-term effects are still being researched. There is a change that the hair loss can come back, which is why patients will need to undergo routine sessions in the long-term to continue seeing results.

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