What is PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is a component of blood that contains platelets and natural growth factors. Separate from red and white blood cells, these growth factors are proteins that stimulate surrounding tissues to regenerate and multiply.

For decades, PRP has been utilized in a large variety of medical specialities (Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Neurosurgery, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery) for its tissue regeneration and repair abilities. Specifically, research in the field of stem cell therapy and tissue regeneration indicated that PRP could be a promising treatment to naturally rejuvenate skin and hair follicles. Many years of clinical research in the field of hair restoration has demonstrated PRP’s ability to drastically slow down hair loss and can provide thicker hair growth in treated areas.

How is the procedure performed?

A small sample of blood is drawn from the patient and placed into a device known as a centrifuge. Within the machine, the sample is spun thousands of times per minute in order to separate the plasma and growth factors from red and white blood cells. From there, the PRP is ‘activated’ to release bioactive proteins which stimulate cellular activity at the level of hair follicles. Extracellular matrices such as ACell may also be added in order to enhance the effects of PRP and provide longer lasting results.

With the plasma prepared, the patient is seated comfortably within a medical recliner and their scalp is numbed under local anesthesia. The PRP is injected subdermally into the scalp where weakened hair follicles exist, with emphasis placed on areas of most concern to the patient. Afterwards, microneedling of the skin is performed to initiate an inflammatory process and further activate the PRP.

This is considered an outpatient procedure that can comfortably be performed within 30 minutes or up to an hour. Mild soreness and redness of the scalp are to be expected immediately after the procedure, with no significant downtime. The patient will be able to resume normal activities within the day. Improved hair growth may be measured within a matter of weeks.

What is ACell?

What is ACell Extracellular Matrix (ECM) “Scaffold?”

ACell is an animal-derived Extracellular Matrix (ECM) tissue-regenerating technology that has been used extensively in the fields of medicine and surgery to stimulate stem cells and enhance wound healing. Its rise in popular culture was accelerated as people with partial finger amputations were able to actually grow back their fingertips (often with the fingernail bed) by using this product. It has also been noted that the use of ACell in wound healing dramatically decreases the appearance of scar tissue in a wound. ACell is a “bio-scaffold” that helps the body heal without excessive scarring.

How are ACell and other ECM’s used in Hair Restoration?

ACell or BioD (placental) ECMs can be used in hair restoration treatments when combined with PRP to stimulate stem cells and rejuvenate and repair the skin and hair follicles. ACell and BioD have also been shown to improve wound healing whenever a cut or incision is made in the skin by reducing the amount of scar tissue formation. BioD has been used for bone regeneration in oral maxillofacial surgery and as an alternative to human cadaver corneal transplants in ophthalmology. Synthetic scaffolds like Polydioxanone (PDO) thread can also be used.

How often does it need to be done?

PRP treatments are typically done in a series of 3 procedures, with 4-8 weeks between each procedure. Clinical research has indicated that PRP treatments compounded in this manner enhance long term benefits for hair regrowth. Results from the procedure(s) are typically seen within a period of 1-3 months. Additional treatments may be necessary to maintain the results after the initial set of treatments has been completed. Some patients choose to do maintenance PRP procedures every 3 to 4 months, while others may choose semiannual or annual procedures.

When combined with hair transplant surgery, PRP has been clinically shown to improve wound healing whenever an incision is made in the skin, thus reducing the amount of scar tissue that is formed. A PRP treatment used within a hair transplant may be considered the first treatment in a series of 3, and many patients continue further PRP treatments to maintain non-transplanted hair as well as enhance the growth of transplanted follicles.

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