PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment has been around in the medical world for more than 25 years. In recent times it has become a very popular and effective method of treatment for sport injuries (relating to chronic pain in the knees, ankles, shoulders and tennis elbow) as well as facial skin rejuvenation. PRP is typically performed by extracting 10-20mls of blood, centrifuging the blood and then extracting the plasma (which carries the platelets) and injecting the PRP into the relevant area.
In only the last few years, hair loss clinics have begun offering PRP treatment to help maintain and potentiallyincrease the thickness of a person’s existing thinning hair. The problem is that these clinics follow the same generic PRP treatment plan (as if they are treating sore joints) and end up achieving very limited (or no) results when it comes to combatting hair loss. The patient, due to their own bad experience ends up convinced that PRP does not work for hair. There are a number of things many people are not aware of when it comes to PRP for hair loss. Below are 6 key points:
1. A Person’s Scalp has much more surface area than a joint!
When having PRP injected into the scalp to combat hair loss, the patient is treating a MUCH LARGER SURFACE AREA than a joint such as their knee or elbow. For this reason, extracting the same 10-20mls of blood is nowhere near enough to treat half a scalp (or full scalp for that matter). Let’s put it another way. If you normally have 1 teaspoon of sugar in your small coffee to achieve your desired taste, but suddenly decide to have a large mug of coffee which is triple the size, will 1 teaspoon achieve the same desired taste? NO! If the mug has 3 times the volume of the small coffee you will need 3 teaspoons of sugar to match the same level of sweetness. It is common sense!
2. The amount of PRP available to inject is only a fraction of the initial blood sample obtained!
If 15mls of blood is extracted and has been put through all the correct PRP procedural steps, what you end up with is only 2.5 - 3mls of true platelet rich plasma to inject! Now think of a person that wants a large portion of their scalp treated, like 250cm2 of surface area. How much benefit will 2.5mls of PRP that is distributed over such a large surface area offer? If 2.5mls is shared between 200-300 separate injection sites within the scalp, how much is each injection site receiving?! The results not surprisingly will usually be very disappointing.
At Newin Institute we extract a minimumof 60mls of blood to treat hair loss and sometimes substantially more depending on the size of the balding region. Using these higher blood volumes is perfectly safe and it does not result in more side effects than the smaller doses of PRP.
3. A large percentage of THE PLATELETS in our blood ARE DORMANT!
Platelets are known to carry granules which contain clotting factors and growth factors. But be aware that almost all platelets (which are disc shaped fragments) float around in the plasma in a dormant state. This means that they serve a minimal purpose and certainly will not release growth factors unless they are first called upon or “activated”. This takes place through trauma or injury. An open wound or an injured joint, acts as a signal for dormant platelets to activate (and change shape into rounder cells with many legs) which in turn releases the granules that contain the growth factors. It is these growth factors that cause cells to multiply and form new tissue, which is the primary basis of what PRP treatment is about.
Injecting PRP (as it is) into the scalp for the purpose of treating hair loss produces limited to no results. This is because most of the platelets remain dormant. They don’t have a reason to activate which means that very few platelets will begin releasing growth factors to nourish the thinning hair.
If trauma or injury does not exist within the recipient area, the step of activating the platelets needs to be added to the PRP procedure to stimulate the release of growth factors.
Newin Institute uses a special system which activates the dormant platelets through scientifically proven wavelengths of energized light. This step occurs after the centrifuge process is complete and immediately before the PRP is injected into the scalp.
This single step not only makes PRP for hair loss much more effective by accelerating the regeneration process, it also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This means that almost all of the minor discomfort that is experienced within PRP patients during the following days is no longer a problem (especially when treating joints).
To further increase the release of growth factors within the thinning region, we use medical grade micro-needling (1.5mm deep) which can only be used by Doctors on patients. This is done to create “trauma” within the dermis (second) layer of skin close to the bulb of the hair prior to injecting the PRP. What we obviously want are for the growth factors to circulate and work within the root of the hair.There are cosmetic grade micro-needling rollers available (0.2 – 0.5mm needle depth max which only penetrates the epidermis) which are permitted to be used by nurses or purchased by customers for personal use. Unfortunately, these cosmetic grade rollers are not as effective in accelerating the PRP benefits for hair. The reason for this is because the activated platelets are attracted to the surface of the skin only which makes it almost useless for hair regeneration but greater a great tool for skin rejuvenation PRP.
To be continued in Part 2….