Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that helps restore hair growth. Doctors typically use this treatment when hair loss results from androgenetic alopecia, a common condition that causes hair follicles to shrink. In males, this is called male pattern baldness. PRP can also aid in the stimulation of hair growth after hair transplants.
Platelet-rich plasma consists of two elements: plasma, or the liquid portion of blood, and platelets, a type of blood cell that plays an important role in healing throughout the body. Platelets are well-known for their clotting abilities, but they also contain growth factors that can trigger cell reproduction and stimulate tissue regeneration or healing in the treated area. Platelet-rich plasma is simply blood that contains more platelets than normal.
PRP therapy is a three-step process. Most PRP therapy requires three treatments 4–6 weeks apart.
Maintenance treatments are required every 4–6 months.
Your blood is drawn — typically from your arm — and put into a centrifuge (a machine that spins rapidly to separate fluids of different densities).
After about 10 minutes in the centrifuge, your blood will have separated into in three layers:
The platelet-rich plasma is drawn up into a syringe and then injected into areas of the scalp that need increased hair growth.
A PRP injection is a low-risk procedure and does not usually cause major side effects. The procedure involves a blood draw, so you should make sure you are hydrated and have eaten beforehand to prevent feeling lightheaded. After the procedure, you may experience some soreness and bruising at the injection site.
Because PRP injections are made up of your own cells and plasma, the risk of an allergic reaction is much lower than with other injectable medications.
Less common risks of PRP injections include: