Board-certified dermatologists can help patients determine the best treatment option for them
Tens of millions of people in the U.S. experience hair loss, which can have a significant impact on quality of life. There is more hope on the horizon, however, as a growing amount of research indicates that a procedure known as platelet-rich plasma therapy can provide effective treatment.
“A general body of evidence has recently emerged demonstrating a positive response from PRP treatments,” says Jeffrey Rapaport, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New Jersey. “With consensus forming around treatment protocols, studies are indicating that PRP is a safe, effective hair loss treatment that has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life of millions of people.”
PRP therapy originated in Europe more than a decade ago and has been utilized in a variety of medical areas, including orthopedics and dentistry. The procedure involves placing blood drawn from the patient into a special machine that separates red blood cells from plasma, which is rich in platelets that contain growth factors.
In hair loss therapy, the plasma is directly injected into the patient’s hair follicles in a process that takes no more than 10 minutes, according to Dr. Rapaport. Since the procedure involves only minimal discomfort, he says, patients typically do not require any numbing or downtime following therapy.
After the initial treatment, injections are repeated once a month for the next three months, and then once every three to six months after that. Within the first few months of treatment, patients may notice they are losing less or minimal amounts of hair, Dr. Rapaport says, and soon after, they may begin to see an increase in thickness or eventual regrowth.
While not everyone is a candidate for PRP therapy, Dr. Rapaport says that it has been found to have high success and satisfaction rates in certain hair loss patients, including those with hereditary hair thinning or baldness. He recommends that those considering the procedure consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine if it’s the right option for them, adding that PRP may be used in conjunction with other treatments to give patients the best possible results.
“Since PRP therapy has taken off, there have been a lot of non-dermatologists performing this procedure,” Dr. Rapaport says. “Only board-certified dermatologists have the medical training to identify if you are a good candidate, because this treatment will not work for everyone who experiences hair loss. Talk to a board-certified dermatologist to determine which hair loss treatment option is best for you.”