Hair loss, or alopecia, is generally a problem that concerns men. It can affect women too, and it affects people who undergo certain treatments, like chemotherapy. While alopecia is not a deadly condition, it does cause some problems. It can be very embarrassing to some people, and it may cause psychological distress. For these people, it is essential to find some sort of treatment to reduce or reverse the process.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a treatment that treats an array of conditions, from arthritis to hair loss. It is also a non-operative procedure, so it will come with less risk than some other treatments. PRP is done in during an office visit relatively quickly and painlessly.
To begin, some blood will be drawn from the patient, similar to a regular blood test. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, which spins the blood at high speeds. This separates the red blood cells from the platelets, which will be concentrated together. The red blood cells are disposed, and the platelets are ready to be injected. This process takes about half an hour.
PRP Therapy for Hair Loss
Once the platelet-rich plasma is created, it is ready to be injected into the scalp. The platelets are said to contain growth factors that can help promote the growth of hair. The treatment has been in use since the 1980s, but not much scientific research has been done on the treatment.
The PRP is injected into the scalp, which promotes hair growth. Many people report hair growth, especially after the second treatment. After the first treatment, three follow-up treatments are given anywhere from four to six weeks apart. After that, treatments to promote continuous growth are given every four to six months. Typically, getting a PRP therapy treatment takes no more than an hour.
Since there are injections involved with the therapy, there are some risks that patients should be aware of. Injections may cause injury to blood vessels or nerves. There is a risk for infection, which is present with any injection. Calcification may occur at injection points and scar tissue may form. Additionally, a patient may have an adverse reaction to anesthetics used during treatment.
There are some things that may prevent a patient from getting PRP therapy for hair loss. If a patient is on blood thinners, is a heavy smoker, or has a history of substance abuse PRP therapy may not be the best hair loss treatment. Acute or chronic infections may be criteria that ban a person from PRP therapy. Cancer, metabolic disorders, platelet dysfunction disorders, systemic problems, or a low platelet account can also be grounds for treatment rejection.
The Price of PRP Therapy
For the first three treatments (given every four to six weeks), it usually costs $1,500 to $3,500. The price can also change depending on a few additional factors. A person’s location can alter the price. The closer the person is to the treatment center, the cheaper it will be. The opposite is true for people who live farther away. The quality of the equipment also changes the price. New, more sophisticated equipment will make the price go up.
Sometimes, nutritious compounds are added to the platelet-rich plasma. This helps promote extra hair growth. This also helps promote a slightly higher price. Sadly, a lot of insurance companies do not cover PRP therapy for hair loss. They consider it to be a cosmetic procedure. Before making any final decisions, it is best to check with the insurance company.
PRP Therapy for hair loss might be a good option for a person. Hair transplants are an option, but these are a surgical procedure. Hair transplants come with the risks associated with surgical procedures. There are also medications that can help hair loss too. Rogaine and propecia are examples of these medications.
Sometimes, those alternate treatments alone are enough. Sometimes, they will not work at all. When they do not work at all, PRP therapy for hair loss can be an excellent treatment to try out. In some cases, the other treatment options do work, but maybe not to the level desired. In this case, PRP therapy for hair loss can help supplement these other treatments.
Finding a good physician is the first step in evaluating a treatment plan. A doctor will be able to check symptoms and find what will likely be the best treatment plan for every patient. This creates the best benefit for everyone. Of course, the hard part is finding a physician that can be trusted.
The first step to choosing a doctor who has valid credentials. Without those, a person is signing up for a world of trouble. The doctor should also be one that listens to the patient and takes him or her seriously. Without respect in the relationship, no good treatment can be expected. Finally, a patient should be comfortable with the doctor because this establishes trust. Without trust, there is no point in having a doctor.
Dr. Jeffrey Epstein and Dr. Anthony Bared of the Foundation for Hair Restoration have multiple years of experience in hair replacement procedures. Dr. Epstein is a member and diplomate of the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Bared is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. They have an office located in New York City and an office located in Miami.