One of the latest innovations for men and women, who want to restore the head of hair they once had, is hair transplantation with the use of platelet-rich plasma or PRP. In addition to red and white cells, platelets are the other biological component of your blood. However, they are not referred to as cells since they lack a nucleus. They are important in hair transplantation procedures because of their clotting capabilities and are blood clotting system components.
There are 3 functional applications to consider where the potential for utilizing PRP to promote growth and healing after a hair transplantation procedure is concerned:
- Enhancement and preservation of the follicle’s viability during the hair transplantation procedure and afterwards
- Enhancement and promotion of healing and tissue repair after the procedure is done
- Reinvigoration of dormant follicles and the stimulation of new growth
It’s important to remember that hair follicles are prone to damage 4 ways from the time they have been extracted from the donor area until they are transplanted to the recipient area of the individual’s scalp. Damage can result from:
- Acid/alkaline and temperature changes to the follicles environment
- Dehydration of the follicles due to insufficient moisturizing between their extraction and transplantation
- Nutrient and oxygen starvation resulting from the follicles removal from the blood supply from the time they are harvested until they have been transplanted
- Revascularization injuries occurring as the follicles are re-adapting to the blood supply during the post-transplantation period
Growth factors stored within the platelets are released in order to promote the healing and repair of injured tissue resulting from the procedure, hence the importance of using PRP during hair transplantation.
There have recently been studies conducted regarding the effects of PRP on dormant hair follicles. In several studies, it has been hypothesized that the growth factors found within the platelets can actually wake up hair follicles that have been dormant and promote new hair production. In areas of the scalp where the skin tissues were injured, PRP was applied in order to induce the release of these growth factors and enhance the healing process.
Over the ensuing 4 months, researchers noted that the diameter of the follicles as well as hair growth was both enhanced after PRP was used. Furthermore, they found that PRP poses no threat of allergic, foreign-body, or hypersensitivity reactions and should be considered immunologically neutral. Additionally, just like with blood transfusions during and after surgical procedures, FDA approval is not required when using PRP in the hair transplantation process. With more frequent use and better success, this might be a requisite in the procedures.
In conclusion, the utilization of platelet-rich plasma in hair transplantation procedures for the promotion of healing and hair growth is in its infancy. But as clinical trials continue to reveal positive results, the use of PRP will become more widespread. You might want to discuss it with your hair transplant surgeon today.