Platelet Rich Plasma or commonly known as PRP. PRP came onto the scene in the 1970’s/80’s in other parts of healthcare particularly in cardiac surgery. Fast forward into the 2000’s it was used to treat anything from sports injuries to nerve damage to even skin a hair procedures. But what is PRP?
PRP is basically drawing ones own blood in tubes coated with an anticoagulant such as sodium citrate, adding thrombin to concentrate platelets and centrifuging the blood to separate the PRP from the red cells. This effluent is rich in growth factors: platelet derived growth factor, transforming growth factor beta, fibroblasts growth factor, insulin like growth factor 1 and 2, vascular endothelial; growth factor, epidermal growth factor, interleukin 8, keratinocyte growth factor, and connective tissue growth factor. These growth factors are what the human body uses in the healing process in any injury. So it was proposed to be useful in all types of surgeries. But are their hard facts for its efficacy in hair restoration?
There are many hair restoration clinics offering this PRP treatment from a fee of free to thousands of dollars per treatment. And unfortunately there seriously is not much data to back up its use for what the claims are being said at this time. Some clinics are stating the hair is regrown in the extraction sites of FUE. Some say the newly transplanted grafts benefit from a rapid regrowth. But again there really is no data to support these claims.
It the International Society of Hair Restoration “FORUM” publication; Volume 27 Number 1: (http://www.ishrs.org) there is a very small section that has two studies that completely conflict each other. One was a single-blind study that was performed but not repeated and boasted that 75% of the patients in the PRP group had a rapid regrowth in the donor area as compared to non-PRP groups. However no statistical data was shown, and again the study was not repeated.
A second study was a double blind study that showed no significant difference in the either group although a slight difference (13.3%) of subjects that showed some improvement. Again this was a study that was published without a repeated study.
So what does this mean in terms of IF PRP is a scam? The jury is still out because of poorly design studies, repetition in these studies. True placebo on the same patient; that being half of a scalp treated and the other half untreated. This must be completed on hundreds of patient. The data collected must be consistent. This is the true scientific method.