Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Essentials
What is PRP?
PRP is best thought of as a collection of growth factors. These growth factors are completely natural and there is no risk of infection or allergic reactions. This is because PRP is taken from your own blood. This is the main reason why the treatment is so attractive to so many people–it does not require any medication or surgery and we are simply concentrating and using the natural growth factors found in your own blood!
How is the procedure done?
The first step is to collect the blood using a tiny needle. Once collected, the blood is then spun down in a centrifuge. This is then processed and after separating out all the red and white blood cells, the platelet rich plasma (PRP) is concentrated and isolated. This is the part that contains the growth factors that you need. The PRP is then put into tiny syringes that make it easier to inject into the recipient areas.
Are there different systems used to isolate the PRP and is there a difference?
There are many systems available to isolate PRP. Three of the common systems are Selphyl, Eclipse, and Arthrex Angel. There does appear to be a difference between the systems as they seem to concentrate platelets to differing degrees. See our blog post on this here.
Although it would seem intuitively correct that higher concentration is better than lower concentration, we still do not know if the benefit of PRP tapers off as the concentration rises or if there is even a toxic concentration. Sometimes too much of a good thing is bad.
Which system do we use?
In the past, we used a different system but did not find it very effective. We suspect it had to do with the concentrating ability of the system. After continued research, we have decided to use the Eclipse system for isolating and concentrating the platelet rich plasma. This is largely based on its improved ability to concentrate platelets and a very recent study published in 2018 in Dermatologic Surgery by Hausauer and Jones. The investigators used the Eclipse system and had very good results treating male and female pattern hair loss. They found that an initial monthly regimen was beneficial and we use a similar regimen as described in this article.We treat once a month for 3 months and then once every 6-12 months thereafter to maintain the benefit.
Contact Us For A Free PRP Consultation
Dr. Thomas Nakatsui MD FRCPC FAAD
Groot Dermasurgery Centre – Edmonton
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What can PRP be used for?
PRP has been used for years to treat a multitude of conditions. In particular, it has been used for wound healing to help repair injured joints, tendons, and muscles. It has also been used to help rejuvenate the skin by stimulating collagen, sometimes in combination with other treatments such as micro-needling and fillers. In particular, it has been used to improve the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes and other parts of the face. Another name for this procedure in the press in the Vampire Facelift.
With respect to hair loss, it is primarily used to treat male and female pattern hair loss, and can sometimes be used to treat resistant cases of scarring and non-scarring hair loss, such as alopecia areata and lichen planopilaris (LPP). In addition, PRP can be used in hair transplant cases as it can speed up the growth of new hair. It should be noted that PRP does not improve the final appearance of a hair transplant. It only speeds up regrowth of new hairs.
Platelet rich plasma is a great option for patients looking for a non-surgical and safe treatment for their hair loss. There are no allergic reactions or other side effects as the therapeutic agent is 100% bioidentical. To learn more about other options for hair restoration, click here.