Does PRP Hair Restoration really work? Is there any evidence to support it?Home / PRP / Does PRP Hair Restoration really work? Is there any evidence to support it?
One common medical problem that affects all genders across the globe is hair loss or hair thinning. In every 50 million men who suffer from hair loss, there are 30 million women going through the same condition. Hair loss is rampant when a person turns 50 and above due to stress. Hundreds of hair loss treatment are there to counter this issue. These treatments have varying degrees of success. One of these hair loss techniques is called platelet rich plasma or PRP hair restoration which is more science-based than others.
PRP refers to a substance found in the blood. Blood has to be drawn from the patient so that PRP can be drawn and injected into the scalp affected by hair loss. This is meant to speed up healing and help weak hair strands gain strength. Once the blood is drawn, it is placed in a machine to help extract platelet-rich plasma. PRP contains growth factors and vital proteins that promote healing.
Besides being used in hair loss treatment, PRP injections are also applied in other medical fields to treat sports related injuries that have affected muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Studies have also shown that hair loss can also be treated using platelet-rich plasma injection. This hair loss condition is popularly known as male pattern baldness.
That said, let’s now find out what research and studies have to say about the success rate, possible side effects, and results of a PRP hair restoration.
Does PRP hair restoration work to get rid of hair loss?
The simple answer is that science doesn’t provide 100% backing that PRP hair restoration helps to preserve or regrow lost hair. Below is an overview of research done which shows that hair loss can produce some good results.
- A 2014 Study from a Trusted Source
In this study, 11 people with androgenic alopecia were injected with PRP hair treatment injections of 2 to 3 cm³. The injections were administered into their scalps after every 2 weeks for three months. The number of hair follicles increased from an average of 71 to 93 units. Although the study was small, it revealed that PRP hair restoration can be relied upon to increase hair follicles that can increase hair density.
- 2015 Study from a Trusted Source
This study involved 10 people who received PRP injections for 3 months and an interval of 2 to 3 weeks. There was progress in the number of hair strands. Not only did the number of hair follicles increase, but the thickness and the strength of the hair also increased. This study also helps to support the theory that PRP really works. However, since only 10 people took part in the study, it was not credible enough.
- A 2019 Study
This study was done in another way, where for 6 months, two groups, each with 20 people each, were treated using different hair loss treatments. One group used minoxidil (Rogaine) as a medical treatment for hair loss, and the other used PRP hair restoration injection for hair loss. Out of the 40 individuals who took part in the study, only 30 of them were able to complete it. PRP proved to be much better than Rogaine for treating hair loss.
The study also showed that platelet count in the plasma affects the outcome since it varies for different people. If the platelet count is low, the treatment won’t be effective enough. Besides treating male pattern baldness, very few studies have been done to prove that PRP hair restoration can help to grow hair. This means that when it comes to growing hair, many studies did not confirm this.
So, what is this hype all about? PRP is said to have some proteins that serve several functions in healing and hair regrowth. Some of them include:
- Help the blood to clot where there is an injury
- Encourage cell generation when old ones die
Studies have also shown that PRP hair treatment may also be effective in treating other forms of hair loss.
Also, you can read How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
Is it Effective?
A team of researchers did a review on PRP hair restoration in 2019 to know how effective the treatment was in treating hair loss. Their medical findings were published in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery journal. The ultimate focus of the analysis was on 11 research papers with 262 people who were had androgenetic alopecia. The authors of the study claim that PRP prevented hair loss as well as increased the diameter and the density of hair. However, they admitted that among the setbacks of the study that made it inconclusive were low quality research small size samples.
Another review which was also done in 2019, was featured in Dermatologic Surgery. The review examined studies investigating the effectiveness of PRP hair restoration. The findings came from 19 studies that involved 460 participants. The authors of the review found out that the majority of the studies showed that PRP produced positive results where hair regrowth was experienced in patients who had androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.
Another review that sought to investigate how effective PRP is as a hair restoration procedure was published by the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. From their report, they considered PRP a “promising” hair loss treatment. They were quick to note, however, that different preparations, session intervals, and PRP injection techniques, performed by different clinics, resulted in different outcomes.
They stated that unstandardized protocol that the treatment is performed makes it hard to conclude whether PRP hair loss treatment is effective or not.
Does PRP hair restoration offer a permanent solution?
To know whether a patient is responding well to the treatment, a few follow up sessions are necessary. The patient will also need to visit the doctor at least once a year for touch-up treatments, even after positive results start showing.
Potential side effects of PRP hair treatment
There are potential side effects that may come from PRP hair treatment therapy. They may come as a result of the procedure or infections. They include:
- Nerve injury
- Blood vessel injury in the scalp
- Injection area may get infections
- Injection area may form scars or calcification
- Anesthesia used to numb the injection area during the procedure may lead to bladder control issues, muscle aches, and confusion
PRP injections for hair loss: Before and after
When seeking PRP hair restoration, the patient needs to understand that results will not be the same for everyone. Some of the factors that will affect the results include the health of the scalp, overall health of the patient, and blood platelet levels. Below is an example of a person who experienced positive results after getting PRP hair treatment injections.
As we’ve seen, PRP is backed by promising studies that have proved to be effective in treating various forms of hair loss. Unfortunately, most of these studies involved quite few participants which rendered me inconclusive. Telling whether this treatment will work for everyone is nor easy. Desired results from PRP hair restoration may also be influenced by the patient’s platelet levels. If the platelets are not enough, the treatment may not give desired results. Before getting a PRP hair treatment injection, you first need to consult your physician who will have your blood tested to establish whether you have enough platelets in your blood to produce desired results.
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