Platelet Rich Plasma is fast being considered an alternative treatment for hair loss in both androgenic alopecia (male/female pattern hair loss) as well as alopecia areata. This is mostly the result of numerous small scale studies that have been published in medical journals over the last 5-7 years. However, PRP in hair loss is still not FDA approved in contrast to minoxidil and finasteride – both of which are treatments for male pattern hair loss and have been around for a long time. Why is this the case?
For treatments to be recognised universally by large professional medical bodies there has to be significant scientific evidence for it’s positive impact published in medical journals with studies consisting of a large number of patients. This has not yet happened in the case of PRP and its use in the treatment of hair loss.
What is a ‘Meta-Analysis’?
Every year researchers at well established hospitals and universities conduct and publish ‘Meta-analysis’ studies. These are unique pieces of research that combine the results of previously published smaller studies to demonstrate whether a specific new drug or treatment works. In a ‘Meta-analysis’ results from smaller studies are combined together and statistically analysed. When multiple studies are combined together the number of patients included are much larger and the subsequent results more believable.
The most recent meta-analysis on the effects of platelet rich plasma on androgenic alopecia (male/female pattern hair loss) was conducted by Dr Guangyu Mao, Dr Guohin Zhang and Dr Weixin Fan from Nanjung Medical University and Baotou Central Hospital, Nanjung, China. They published their findings in the Journal of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery – June 2019.
They conducted a search of all studies published up until January 2019 on the use of PRP in the treatment of androgenic alopecia. They identified 132 studies and whittled this number down to 11. All 11 studies included in their analysis looked at the effect of PRP on male and/or female hair loss. All studies used similar methods to analyse their results and all included a control group against which they could objectively assess the effects of PRP. They all measured changes in hair thickness and hair density. Other recorded measurements included vellus terminal hair ratio (miniaturised hairs vs normal hairs), patient satisfaction, changes in the rate of hair loss, hair pull test results and the presence of any side effects.
The total combined number of patients was 262. Male patients had androgenic alopecia ranging from grade II to IV on the Norwood classification. Female patients had androgenic alopecia ranging from grade I to III on the Ludwig classification. All patients included had confirmed androgenic alopecia and no other types of alopecia were included.
PRP works by concentrated platelet alpha granules (a cellular component of platelets) releasing specific growth factors that have been shown to have a positive impact on new hair growth. These growth factors include Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), Transforming Growth Factor (TGF) and Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF).
This meta-analysis demonstrated a significant increase in the number of hairs per square cm in those treated with PRP vs those treated with a control substance (in most cases this was normal saline). This study also identified a significant increase in terminal hair density in patients treated with PRP vs those treated with the control. This study also provided evidence of the need for early treatment with PRP. Severe stages of androgenic alopecia in men and women did not respond to treatment as well as those who had lower grades of hair loss.
This is the most detailed and robust meta-analysis published to date. However, there still remain a few unanswered questions. Despite similar methodology in the studies included in this meta-analysis, there was no unified process of PRP preparation. Each study used a different PRP preparation protocol and different commercial systems. In addition this meta-analysis did not shed any further light on the importance of activation with calcium chloride as an activator for PRP prior to injection into the scalp.
At Rejuvence Clinic we specialise in PRP and specifically PRP for treatment of hair loss. We use the Magellan TruPRP system that provides what we believe is the ideal PRP preparation with the ideal platelet concentration. At Rejuvence we are always reviewing the latest research to make sure we provide our clients with the best possible treatment currently available.
If you are serious about getting PRP treatment for hair loss come to us to receive treatment that is effective, transparent and the real deal to ensure you can get the best possible results.
For further information on PRP treatments for hair loss at Rejuvence Clinic, have a look at our section on PRP for hair loss.
If you are serious about getting PRP treatment for hair loss make sure you give us a call on: 0207 531 6600.
Alternatively book a free consultation through our online booking portal.