Here at Belgravia
we are frequently asked about platelet-rich plasma therapy, better known as PRP
This novel procedure involves drawing a patient's blood, spinning and separating it to obtain the most platelet-dense mixture, which is sometimes further enhanced with additives, then injecting it back into the patient's scalp.
Originally used to accelerate wound-healing times in athletes, it found fame in recent years as an anti-ageing 'Vampire Facial
' treatment, before being explored as a potential way to treat hair loss
Now, researchers in the USA have published their findings following a systematic review of PRP as a genetic hair loss treatment, in the Facial Plastic Surgery medical journal.
Previous research doubted hair loss treatment benefits
Various clinical trials have been conducted to see whether PRP may be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical hair loss treatments in cases of Male and Female Pattern Baldness
The consensus across studies thus far has lent towards PRP only being potentially beneficial when used as an adjunct therapy -a non-medicinal product designed support hair growth
- when regular sessions of these scalp injections are undertaken in addition to the use of clinically-proven hair loss treatments
. Researchers have generally been of the view that PRP doesn't yet offer any meaningful advantage for hair regrowth when used as a standalone treatment.
Separate clinical trials carried out in various countries, including America
, noted findings which showed PRP to be ineffective as a genetic hair loss treatment, but worth exploring further as a secondary therapy to be used alongside the established MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved medications.
The area PRP has shown to have more obvious success in, is the treatment of Alopecia Areata
- an autoimmune disorder which causes varying degrees of hairloss. An Egyptian study
found administering these injections helped promote hair regrowth and further investigations
are currently underway to explore the therapy's applications for both Alopecia Areata and for Cicatricial Alopecia
, which cannot currently be treated.
Systematic review of PRP hair regrowth research
An American team from the Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, Massachusetts conducted a review
of available data in June 2018 to get a general overview of how effective PRP had been found to be as a genetic hair loss treatment so far.
Given the volume of studies into PRP for Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss treatment, case reports were excluded and 24 studies - taken from the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases - were chosen for review. Of those selected, 21 used clinical criteria to diagnose the participants' hair loss condition, and 3 used biopsy methods. Of the 24 studies, 8 were randomised control trials whilst 16 were 'prospective cohort'.
The Bostonians' review uncovered the following: "PRP was injected with or without the use of a numbing agent, and most studies performed multiple injections (three or more separated by several weeks). Twenty-one studies reported positive outcomes by objective criteria (88%), while three suggested that there was no clinical improvement, although in two of these studies patients still reported increased satisfaction. There were no complications reported other than transient edema/erythema and pain/headache associated with the procedure."
This led them to conclude, "The existing literature suggests that PRP is a low-risk intervention to treat AGA associated with good patient satisfaction and objective improvements in outcomes. Further research is needed to optimize preparation and delivery methods as well as standardize measurements of clinical outcomes."
Interestingly, even where no significant hair growth improvements were indicated, trial participants still reported 'increased satisfaction'; this suggests a placebo effect
may factor into people's reactions to PRP outcomes.