Are PRP Hair Loss Clinics the same?
Are PRP Hair Loss Clinics the same?
It was only a few short years ago within the hair loss industry when almost no clinic was familiar with PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment for hair loss. Clinics would typically offer either growth programs, cortisone scalp injections, hair transplantation surgery or non-surgical hair replacement (wigs) as treatment options for their clients.
Fast forward to today and PRP is being offered by many clinics (both medical and non-medical) to help treat hair loss.
PRP treatment for hair loss is the process of extracting and separating platelet rich plasma from the platelet poor plasma and injecting this portion of blood that is rich in platelets containing growth factors into the thinning regions of a person’s scalp. PRP has been shown to reduce ongoing hair loss as well as to strengthen and thicken existing weak hairs on the scalp.
With so many clinics offering this treatment the blind customer tends to believe that PRP for hair loss techniques are identical at every clinic. This may be why when an email or phone enquiry regarding PRP is received the only question that tends to be asked is, “How much do you charge for PRP?”
PRP Hair Loss Clinics – Differences in treatment that affect results
The question that people should ask is whether PRP is performed in the same manner at each clinic and whether the rate of success is mirrored in the same way. We thought it would be useful to highlight four main variables which distinguish the PRP method and techniques from one clinic to another:
The amount of blood extracted during PRP is majorly important to the success of the treatment. It has been shown that a 10-20ml amount may be perfect when treating joints or for the purpose of facial rejuvenation. However to treat an area as large as a scalp requires significantly more blood as it is being spread over a much larger surface area than compared with, for example an elbow.
If 18mls of blood is extracted and put through the correct PRP procedural steps, the amount of Platelet Rich Plasma produced is about 3mls. This represents about 1/6th of the initial blood volume. In knowing this, an amount as small as 3mls of true PRP is not anywhere near enough to successfully treat a thinning scalp.
From our extensive clinical experience, at least 60mls of blood is required to treat a balding scalp properly and in some cases it may be more than this amount.
Drawing more blood produces more total platelets and growth factors in the final PRP product and, therefore, produces better results.
While this is common sense, using more blood requires more medical tubes and time to perform the treatment which increases the overall price of the PRP procedure. Small blood volumes which are not as effective as larger ones, do offer the advantage of the clinic keeping the prices on the “cheaper” side. To make up for the small profit margins per treatment, these clinics will insist that a high number of PRP treatments such as 12 sessions in the first year are required.
The question to ask in PRP hair loss clinics is: “How much blood do you typically extract for each PRP treatment?”
Activated or Non-Activated Platelets
The average person contains 200,000 platelets per ml of blood. These platelets contain growth factors and travel within the blood in a dormant state. During this time they do not release any growth factors unless they are called upon. Trauma such as a torn muscle or open wound sends a signal to activate these platelets which then work to repair the damage.
A healthy but balding scalp has no reason generate this activation signal. This means that PRP which is injected into the scalp remains dormant and therefore does not release growth factors. This results in minimal to no benefit to the hair loss sufferer.
For the purpose of treating hair loss, Platelet Rich Plasma that is obtained after the centrifuge process needs to be manually activated via a light activation procedure prior to being injected it into the thinning scalp. This step is not necessary for treating joints or muscle injuries but is a necessity for hair loss.
The question to ask when consulting PRP Hair clinics is: “Do you activate the platelets prior to injecting them in and how?”
How is the Anaesthetic Administered?
There are two ways anaesthetic can be administered. Local anaesthetic is by injection and performed only by a qualified Doctor. Topical anaesthetic is by cream and is popular amongst nurses or assistants who are not authorised to offer anaesthetic by injection.
Anaesthetic can reduce the effectiveness of the PRP if applied directly onto the same region that the PRP is applied to via injection or cream. Therefore, local anaesthetic administered via a ring block formation (meaning around the thinning zone rather that on it) minimises the impact on the final PRP result. This method is also more effective at numbing the treatment area. We strongly advise against anaesthetic creams.
Questions to ask any PRP Hair Loss clinic: “What anaesthetic do you use? How is it administered?”
- Who is performing the PRP treatment?
In order to obtain the best possible PRP result to treat hair loss, you need to have a Doctor that is specialised, extremely knowledgeable and experienced at this specific form of PRP. This treatment is not as simple as just extracting blood, turning on the centrifuge and injecting the PRP into the scalp.
Additionally, for your comfort during the treatment, strong local anaesthetic is required and is a prescription-only medication. Nurses are not allowed to prescribe or administer the local anaesthetic ring block without supervision by a doctor.
Questions to ask the PRP Hair Loss clinics: “Is my PRP being performed by a specialized Doctor or a nurse?
Are you interested in knowing more about PRP and whether you may be suitable? Feel free to contact us on 03 9693 9200.