Hair Loss Therapy Advances with Platelet-rich Plasma and Micro-Needling
Hair Loss Therapy – A combination therapy which uses modern cellular therapy like Platelet-rich Plasma generated growth factors along with Micro-Needling of the scalp to generate stem cell activation of the hair follicle bulge region.
New scientific discoveries in regenerative medicine provide practical solutions to slow, stop, and even regrow hair for those suffering from androgenic alopecia (hair-loss).
Nearly 80% of all men will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime. By age 50, nearly 50% of men begin to see hair loss. But men are not alone, hair loss affects nearly 40% of all women as well.
Currently, there are two FDA approved drug therapies for the treatment of hair loss. Those include:
- Topical Minoxidil
- Oral Finasteride
Many ask what is Androgenic Alopecia? Well, it is the most common hair loss disorder in adults. It is caused by a shortened anagen phase of hair growth. The anagen stage is the growth stage. On the scalp area, this the anagen stage can last anywhere from 2-7 years on average. The length is primarily due to genetics, but it can be impacted by diet and your overall wellness.
A shortened anagen stage leads to smaller hair follicle size and less blood flow and nutrients reaching the hair follicle, which negatively influences healthy hair development.
Currently, available treatment options for hair loss in the United States are:
- Hair transplant surgery
- Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)
- Micro-needling or derm rollers
Minoxidil can be purchased over-the-counter. Prescription strengths are also available. Minoxidil was first used as an oral hypertension medication. Not long after its use, scientists discovered it caused excessive hair group in some people – primarily women. Because of this, researchers began studying and developing topical solutions targeting hair loss. It works by dilating hair follicles promoting more blood flow encouraging healthier anagen-stage hair growth. Benefits of Minoxidil include healthier, thicker, longer-lasting hair strands.
Finasteride is another medication used for hair loss. It decreases the amount of DHT in the body, which discourages DHT induced hair loss. Finasteride is also indicated for use by men with enlarged prostate.
Side-effects with finasteride can be risky since it has been reported to reduce libido in some men.
NOW let’s turn to newer more exciting solutions which can do much more for hair restoration. Platelet-rich Plasma and Microneedling are cellular based activation therapies that have only recently become available to the marketplace.
These natural cellular-based treatments put your own body’s natural healing power to work for you!
The work best in combination. Let’s look at a combination procedure in the image below. The photo shows a platelet-rich plasma application along with micro-needling for stem cell activation.
The PRP growth factors are in the syringe. The physician will inject them into the subcutaneous tissue of the scalp. The micro-needle auto-pen is used to stimulate the body’s natural stem cell activation. The PRP delivers the concentrated growth factors taken from the patient’s blood and the auto-pen micro-needling device stimulates natural stem cell activation. This combo procedure promotes regeneration of hair follicles.
In addition, dermo-rolling of the scalp area works equally well to an auto-pen. It essentially micro-needles in a manual process and is something most patients can do at home. Micro-needling from an auto-pen or derma-roller provide similar stem cell activation results, but derma-rollers are usually less costly making them a great option for in-home use.
As stated before, this micro-needling process creates micro-damage to the top layer of the skin stimulating natural stem-cell activation and cellular regeneration reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth.
Let’s return back to the platelet-rich plasma injection process. Once blood platelets are taken and concentrated into PRP, the following growth factors are activated, which are valuable for hair regrowth by regenerating the health of the hair follicle.
Those growth factors are:
- TGF – transforming growth factor.
- PDGF – platelet-derived growth factor.
- VEGF – vascular endothelial growth factor.
- EGF – epidermal growth factor.
- IGF – Insulin-like growth factor.
All these growth factors are taken from blood platelets, concentrated using an in-clinic centrifuge technique, and then delivered to the subcutaneous skin level of the scalp with a small syringe. This stimulates stem cell activation within the bulge area of the hair follicles and can encourage the development of new hair follicles.
Now we turn our attention to a randomized placebo-controlled trial conducted at the University of Rome in Italy. This study evaluated 23 men. Approximately half the men were given platelet-rich plasma and the other half a placebo. Each group received three applications of treatment separated by 30 days.
The study included a blinded evaluator as well to avoid subjective bias. Those that received the treatment saw significant improvement. Those who received the placebo did not. 4 patients reported some recurring hair loss but only after 16 months.
So, how much improvement did the platelet-rich plasma group see? They saw more than a 36% gain in hair density. That’s pretty remarkable only after 3 treatments, each spread out 30 days apart.
So what does it look like in real life? Well, you have to watch the video to see. In the video, you will see before and after of a 29-year-old patient who underwent PRP therapy for the study.
Before and after shown at approximately the 6:41 mintute mark in video below.
Anyone suffering from hair loss who can afford three short PRP treatment must investigate this remarkable therapy. Keep in mind, the Rome study did not combine micro-needling as a supplemental modality, otherwise, they would have likely seen even better, longer-lasting, results.
Next, we want to bring your attention to choosing the right team who employ the proper equipment to do your platelet-rich plasma hair rejuvenation therapy. As you know, the medical team is an important part of any procedure. However, when PRP therapy is used, the type of processing equipment used to prepare the growth factors can make all the difference in the world.
Why is the equipment and processing of platelets important? Research has shown that 1.5 Million concentrated platelets per microliter are ideal for successful therapies using PRP. If platelet density is too high above this ideal level, then angiogenesis diminishes. Angiogenesis is important in hair follicle regeneration. On the other hand, if platelet concentrations are too low, then not enough growth factors are present to support hair follicle regenerations.
But let’s not forget micro-needling as an important addition to therapy and ongoing maintenance. Micro-needling stimulates stem cell activation. It is used to add benefit to standard hair loss PRP therapies. Patients should always micro-needle at home once per week following PRP therapy for hair follicle rejuvenation. Once per week is the ideal schedule, since it gives adequate time for stem cell activation and regeneration of tissue.
With that said, let’s look at the research on micro-needling for hair loss. There have been a number of studies showing the value of micro-needling on skin and hair follicle tissue regeneration. The micro-needling procedure naturally stimulates stem cell activation as part of the body’s normal healing process.
So, in this 2013 study, researchers looked at two groups. One group received a combination therapy of Minoxidil twice-daily and Micro-needling once-weekly, while the other group only received minoxidil twice-daily. The findings showed micro-needling by stimulating stem cell activation enhanced natural growth factors leading to more hair regeneration than the non-micro-needling group. The micro-needling group showed on average 91.4 more hair counts after 12-weeks of treatment while the minoxidil only group showed only a 22.2 hair improvement over the same period.
The Conclusion – weekly micro-needling combined with twice-daily topical minoxidil application increased hairs by 91.4 on average after twelve weeks of treatment.
And the best part about micro-needling is you can do it at home. Health and beauty stores regularly sell micro-needling devices for skin and hair uses. Contact us to discuss which micro-needle device and size are best for you.
Let’s take this time now to summarize the complete therapy:
The first step is to schedule 3 Platelet-rich Plasma sessions. Each session is done at one of our treatment centers. They are separated by at least 30 days. It’s best to have each follow up session done between 30-45 days. Each PRP treatment will take approximately 45 minutes from beginning to end. There is no downtime, but the injections sites may be a little sore for a day or two following the procedure.
The next step to successful hair follicle rejuvenation is to do weekly ongoing maintenance with a derma-roller over the area. This should not be done more than once per week. It’s best to think of weekly micro-needling as part of a normal hygiene process no different than brushing teeth or showering.
The physician will also prescribe a topical solution like Minoxidil or Minoxidil with other medications, which should be applied twice daily.
And that’s it for using the latest medical science to date shown to help slow hair loss and regenerate and regrow hair in most who follow and comply with the protocols.
A little bit about us. We are the No. 1 Medical tourism group in Latin America with treatment centers located in highly ranked medical tourist destinations like Costa Rica ranked # 5 in the world, and Tijuana Mexico now ranked No. 1 in North America. We also offer services in Panama – a global banking center.
We are also expanding rapidly in the US. With treatment centers in the Midwest and Florida. Go to our website to stay up to date on treatment centers and therapies being added all the time.
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