How can platelet rich plasma (PRP) be effective for hair transplants? Hair follicle cells go into a comatose phase after hair transplant surgery. They just try to survive for 3-4 days, then they cannot function (produce hair) for 1-3 months. Nothing can stimulate them in this period. And the platelets lifetime is less than one week after injection
It takes five days for transplanted hair follicles have established their own capillary network. The life of a platelet is 10 days. However, it’s not necessarily the platelets, but rather their growth factors and cell recruitment that benefit the follicle during this vulnerable period. Although I agree that PRP/ACell therapy is by no means a guarantee, I have seen it show promise in the appropriate candidate (those with miniaturized hairs that are often surrounded by evidence of dried keratinocytes).
Studies on PRP injections have demonstrated that it’s roughly at the 7th month when hair caliber and hair growth peak from an initial injection.
I’ve been asked to write about PRP in the “Future of HT” section of the upcoming ” Hair Transplantation” text book. To illustrate how much uncertainly is surrounding this therapy, at the 2013 ISHRS Scientific Meeting, a panel of five hair restoration specialists were asked to describe their PRP injection protocol. All five of them used different methods to isolate the PRP, all five had different concentrations of PRP, all five had different preferred intervals or treatment, and all five reported slightly different patient results.
Although it’s a procedure with promise, there’s a lot yet to be determined (much like low level laser therapy). The one thing I would say with certainty is that you should avoid PRP injections if the doctor tells you it’s “guaranteed” and/or if they are suggesting it without first carefully examining the patient with a magnified camera to closely evaluate the scalp.
Dr. Carlos Wesley
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