PRP for hair loss is an excellent hair restoration option with ample scientific literature to support its use. Platelet-rich plasma is a three-step medical treatment in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp. Dr. Gary Linkov is the best-in-class facial plastic surgeon in New York who has advanced knowledge of underlying disease processes and is up-to-date on the latest therapies, offering his patients top of the line care. City Facial Plastic, located in Manhattan, NY, offers the most effective treatment options for hair loss.
What Is PRP for Hair Loss?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) involves autologous platelets in plasma (from your own body) that are combined with a plethora of growth factors. Activated platelets secrete growth factors and cytokines during the healing process.
These growth factors, found within the alpha granules of platelets, influence stem cells, stimulating the development of new hair follicles and vasculature. Though a lack of standardized protocols in preparing PRP and evaluating the results exist, numerous studies have shown that PRP administered to the scalp can temporarily reverse progressive hair thinning.
By the age of 60, 45% of men and 35% of women develop androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss in men and women. For many, hair loss starts even earlier and can cause significant psychological stress. A range of treatment options exist, from non-invasive pills and creams to more invasive injections and surgery. Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is an excellent hair restoration option.
The delivery methods for scalp PRP involve either the use of needles to administer the local anesthesia and/or the PRP or a needleless option called JetPeel PRP. The discomfort associated with the needle-based delivery paradigm is an important reason for patients not to return for additional treatments or to avoid the procedure altogether. JetPeel PRP is a needleless method that delivers scalp PRP in a painless fashion, obviating the need for local anesthesia. Dr. Linkov was one of the first doctors in the world to offer JetPeel PRP for hair restoration.
Who Is a Good Candidate for PRP for Hair Loss?
PRP treatment for hair loss is primarily offered to patients with a classic androgenic alopecia pattern of hair loss. However, certain other hair loss conditions, such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium, have had demonstrated success with PRP. In treating androgenic alopecia patients it is important to target areas of existing miniaturized hairs and not areas with no visible hair at all (bald).
How Is PRP for Hair Loss Done?
There are specific steps that are performed as part of a PRP treatment for hair loss, regardless of the exact processing kit or system used. These steps include:
All PRP for hair growth treatments start with a blood draw. The exact amount of blood drawn depends on the type of PRP kit used by your doctor. Most require 20-60cc of blood. Dr. Linkov or his assistant will draw the blood using a standard clean and safe technique.
Preparing the PRP
Once the whole blood is removed it needs to be processed into PRP. Various kits are available, each with its own centrifuge system. The main concept is to separate the platelets (thick white layer) from the rest of the blood products and resuspend them in a certain volume of plasma (clear yellow layer).
The final solution should be cloudy yellow in appearance (not clear yellow) if it is truly platelet-rich plasma. Occasionally some of the red blood cells can enter into this solution changing to color to pink, which is not a concern. Dr. Linkov uses the Emcyte system which has been shown to generate the greatest quantity of platelets.
Preparing the scalp
First, the exact areas to be treated are identified. Then the scalp needs to be cleaned with either alcohol or betadine solution. If the classic needled approach is used for PRP delivery, then the scalp will need to be numbed with a lidocaine mix. Injection of lidocaine with a small needle around the scalp is favored over topical numbing for patient comfort. If the JetPeel needleless delivery method is used, then no numbing is required. Instead, a cleaning JetPeel solution is used with the jet stream directed at a 45 degree angle to the scalp in order to exfoliate and clean the area.
If the classic needled approach is used for PRP hair treatment delivery, once the scalp is numb, the PRP is loaded into syringes and delivered at a medium scalp depth using a needle. If the JetPeel needleless delivery method is used, a special PRP JetPeel handpiece is used at a 90 degree angle to the scalp to allow for transdermal infusion of the PRP.
The total length of the procedure is 45 minutes – 90 minutes depending on the method used.
How to Prepare for a PRP for Hair Loss?
No special preparation is necessary for PRP hair treatment. If you are having the classic needle-based PRP then you may want to take an acetaminophen tablet before coming in to ease the discomfort of the needles. Avoid alcohol and any type of blood thinner the day before your scheduled procedure. Drink sufficient water the day of your procedure to allow for a successful blood draw.
What Is the Recovery From PRP for Hair Loss?
If you have the classic needle-based approach to PRP hair restoration, you will experience mild scalp tenderness where the PRP injections were made for up to 48 hours. Mild scalp swelling and minimal bleeding is also possible for the first few days. You may take acetaminophen to ease the discomfort if needed. The majority of patients are symptom free after the first 48 hours. Hair growth may take up to 8 weeks to be visible. If prior shedding existed, it may improve even sooner after treatment.
If you have the JetPeel needleless approach to PRP for hair loss, the recovery is easier. The scalp may feel sticky due to some surface deposition of the PRP, which can be washed away in the shower as early as 6 hours after treatment. Some patients report an itchy scalp for up to 48 hours after treatment.
Is PRP for Hair Loss Permanent?
No. PRP is a type of medical therapy and is not a permanent hair restoration option. The growth factors released by the platelets are used up by the hair follicles over the course of several months. Additional PRP treatment, every 3-6 months are useful for maintaining the improvements to your hair. Some providers will offer monthly PRP treatments for the first 2-4 months, and then space them out every 3-6 months thereafter.
What Are the Risks and Complications of PRP for Hair Loss?
The risks and complications of PRP for hair loss include:
- Headache (mild)
- Bleeding (minimal if any)
- Infection (very rare)
- Pain at PRP injection site (minimal)
What Are the Contraindications for PRP for Hair Loss?
Generally considered a very safe and well tolerated procedure, PRP hair treatment should be avoided in the following situations, including:
- Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
- Acute and chronic infections
- Chronic liver disease
- Blood thinners (warfarin, dabigatran, heparin)
Additionally, if there is no existing hair shaft visible (patient appears completely bald in an area) then PRP should be avoided as the odds of improvement are low.
What Are the Alternatives to PRP for Hair Loss?
There are other non-surgical options as well as surgical hair restoration solutions depending on the exact hair loss condition and patient preferences. If a non-surgical medical route is chosen, a combination of treatment modalities is often recommended.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)
- Finasteride (Propecia)
- Nutraceutical (Viviscal; Nutrafol)
- Low-level laser light therapy
- Scalp micropigmentation (SMP)
- Surgical hairline lowering (SHA)
- Hair transplant
Are Patients Satisfied After PRP for Hair Loss?
In most studies on PRP for hair growth, about 25-50% of patients see some degree of hair improvement. PRP is still a medical therapy and as such will need to be repeated for sustained results and may not work for everyone. As long as patients understand these important points then they can have realistic expectations for what PRP hair restoration can do for them. Dr. Linkov, at City Facial Plastics in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, finds that a significant percentage of his hair loss patients, before or after a hair transplant, return for repeated treatments with PRP.
What Is the Cost of PRP for Hair Loss in UES, Manhattan?
The cost of PRP hair restoration generally ranges from $700 – $3000 per treatment. The average cost is about $1000 per treatment. The use of the JetPeel system for needleless delivery and the use of advanced centrifuge kits may raise the price. Some providers offer discounts for packages of several consecutive PRP treatment for hair loss.
Is PRP for Hair Loss Covered by Insurance?
Unfortunately, most hair loss treatment is not covered by insurance. If you would like to use your health insurance to cover hair loss treatment expenses, make sure to call your insurance carrier in advance to find out their specific policies. Please be advised that certain providers, such as Dr. Linkov in Midtown, Manhattan, are not in-network providers which may also affect your ability to use your insurance for hair loss treatments.
Who Should Be Performing PRP for Hair Loss?
PRP injections for hair loss is currently performed by a range of specialists, including:
- Nurse Practitioners
- Physician Assistants
Remember that only certain healthcare specialists are permitted by their respective governing agencies to perform blood draws, PRP preparation, and PRP delivery. Since needles and blood are involved, specific OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines need to be followed. Make sure that the proper setting is provided to ensure your safety. Additionally, the actual delivery of the PRP and type of preparation of the PRP that is used impacts on your ultimate results. Choosing a provider wisely is critical to the success of the procedure.
Who Is the Best PRP for Hair Loss Doctor in NYC?
Dr. Gary Linkov, a NYC hair restoration top-ranked expert, is a leading voice in hair restoration. He has advanced knowledge of underlying disease processes and is up-to-date on the latest therapies, offering his patients top of the line care. He also has alopecia areata himself which allows him to empathize with his patients and deliver the most compassionate hair restoration care in NYC, from the heart. Dr.Linkov has been featured on the Dr.Oz show specifically for PRP hair restoration (video below), as he was the first to study JetPeel PRP for hair loss.
PRP for Hair Loss Before and After
Do you have any questions about PRP for hair loss in New York City? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an experienced facial plastic surgeon in Manhattan, NYC, Dr. Gary Linkov? Please contact our City Facial Plastics office for a consultation.