Platelet Rich Plasma is the latest development in hair restoration. At the Foundation for Hair Restoration in Florida, Dr. Epstein, together with his colleagues, Dr. Bared, and Dr. Kuka, built a reputable plastic surgery practice and are duly recognized as creative and ethical experts in treating hair loss, especially since they formulated and advanced techniques that significantly complement this treatment.
Non-surgical therapies and the practicing doctors
Dr. Epstein, an experienced plastic surgeon with over 10,000 hair transplants under his belt, realized there is a limit to the amount of work he can perform and was consequently joined in Florida at the Foundation for Hair Restoration by two practitioners.
Dr. Anthony Bared, a University of Illinois, Chicago and University of Miami plastic surgery graduate, is equipped with the capability to perform high-quality hair transplants in addition to a variety of therapies that are non-surgical. Regarding his research into platelet rich plasma and laser light therapy, Dr. Anthony Bared has successfully presented his findings at national meetings.
Dr. Gorana Kuka, on the other hand, is a plastic surgeon from Europe, interested in the application of mesotherapy and growth factors for both male and female hair loss. She brings a higher understanding concerning these cutting edge therapies, primarily because they have been extensively applied in Europe, and for a longer duration compared to North America. She also has under her belt an in-depth research on the application of both fat transfer and regenerative cell therapies as potential treatments for the loss of hair.
Developments in hair loss treatment
Over the years, cell therapy, essentially cell multiplication and growth factors, have held the spotlight regarding potential creations in several medical fields, including hair transplantation, and the Foundation for Hair Restoration is at the forefront of these developments.
This therapy, which employs centrifuged blood separating the component containing growth factors, is applied to treat hair loss as a sole treatment and may also be combined with hair transplantation. Rich in platelets, potent healing mediators in our bodies, and growth factors, this therapy is applied to scalps in various techniques, suitably assisting hair loss treatment.
Plastic surgeons at the Foundation recommend this treatment to patients with an extensive loss of hair, on top of their utilization of the advanced Angel® system and transplant procedures for the last couple of years, with a majority of the patients responding positively.
On top of its application as a stand-alone treatment, using this therapy in combination with hair transplant provides several benefits; it increases the percentage of grafts that take and speeds up donor site healing. Although it’s premature to know precisely how useful it could prove, chances are this therapy will soon be part of standard care.
Since providing patients with the best treatment is among the commitments of the foundation’s doctors, this therapy is optionally offered for an add-on fee with the process of transplantation. As a stand-alone treatment, a series of two to four treatments spread over a period of six months is recommended.
This therapy was formulated by a research scientist colleague and is primarily obtained from the blood of a patient by spinning it at high speeds in a centrifuge, effectively isolating growth factor proteins and platelets, which can then be applied to improve hair transplant outcomes. This treatment plan:
- Limits bleeding and bruising when added to the scalp where hairs are transplanted, speeding up the healing process and minimizing shock hair loss which results in the achievement of a better appearance much sooner
- Accelerates and enhances the percentage of transplanted hair growth
- Improves healing of the incision on donor sites and is particularly effective in FUE donor sites
This therapy can additionally assist the reawakening of dormant hairs and thicken thinning hairs once added to the scalp, and as a stand-alone procedure for the treatment of pattern hair loss, it occasionally helps to slow active hair loss. Your doctor can address any additional concerns pertaining to this therapy.
What this therapy is
Red and white blood cells contain platelets which are rich in growth factors, making them the most potent healing mediators in the body. Growth factors enhance healing through the restoration of normal structures and strengths of tissue. In a platelet-rich plasma injection, a patient’s blood is processed at high speeds using the Angel® system to obtain a higher concentration of platelets consisting healing and growth factors, which are applied to enhance healing and blood flow on top of stimulating the healthier growth of hair follicles.
Is this therapy new?
For years now, this technology has been employed in the care of wounds and surgical procedures. In open heart surgery, it was initially used as a healing adjunct. Although its use on scalps is relatively recent, it is essentially evolving into a promising treatment for reversing hair loss and also as an adjunct to hair transplants. This therapy’s response rate is approximated at 70-80% in specific body parts, even though this data primarily involves multiple studies conducted on small population groups.
Application in hair loss treatment
With basis on anecdotal data from colleagues in addition to our research, we have been applying this treatment combined with ACell, a regenerative matrix product that is derived from the porcine bladder and specially treated to ensure safety and purity. After anesthetization of the scalp, this combination is then injected into the areas with thinning or falling hair, a process that should be repeated six months and a once every year after that.
How it improves hair transplant results
For hair transplant, the growth factor/ACell combination offers four potential benefits. These are;
- Enhances healing and minimizes scarring when injected into the FUG/strip or FUE donor site.
- Encourages a better regrowth of hair grafts dipped into this combination before transplantation.
- Speeds up healing and improves regrowth of grafts when injected into scalp areas where grafts are placed, especially for the scalps with scarring from injuries or prior transplants and in the crown area where the percentage of hair regrowth is usually low.
- Treats the loss of hair in other areas of scalps where hairs have not being transplanted to, even though it is applied as a stand-alone therapy.
A patient’s blood is used for this treatment, which means no transfusion risks or the need to worry about using blood products.
Before and after the procedure
Patients must avoid prescribed and over the counter anti-inflammatory medication including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen seven days prior to the procedure and three days after, although cardiac patients can continue taking aspirin. Taking pain relievers such as Tylenol and narcotics, including codeine, is okay, especially in the case of a hair transplant having also been performed. Patients on blood thinners such as Coumadin, Pradaxa, warfarin, and Plavix are not suitable candidates for the injection of this combination, and patients are usually presentable right after this procedure.
The entire process takes approximately 90 minutes, with most of this time having been utilized to draw and process the blood of a patient before injection. A patient then consults two and six weeks after for a check-up.
About 80cc of blood is drawn from the patient using sterile equipment and placed in a customized tube for centrifugation. While the Platelet Rich Plasma is processed, the scalp is anesthetized by the use of nerve blocks, mainly because traditional anesthetics can inhibit this therapy and are impossible to inject into the areas of a scalp under treatment.
Injection of the combination into the affected areas of a scalp takes several minutes, and to activate the therapy, a roller or minuscule needle is used to treat the scalp in which many tiny microdots are made. If this treatment is being performed in combination with a hair transplant, blood is drawn at the procedure’s onset and injected after preparation into the anesthetized recipient and donor areas, plus any other area losing hair.
Risks and possible complications
There are a few related risks to this procedure, all of which rarely occur, including a temporary bruising of where blood was drawn or the patient was injected on top of worsening loss of hair.
Pain relievers such as Tylenol will effectively treat the mild discomforts or headaches that might occur after the procedure.
Choice of treatment
After extensive research, we at the Foundation for Hair Restoration settled on the Angel® growth factor system manufactured by Cytomedix since it offers the best ability to produce pure and correctly concentrated results due to its advanced computer technology. Additionally, ACell is added to the treatment because it encourages regenerative activity and improves the probability of a positive response.