Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are effective means for the treatment of hair loss most commonly seen on the scalp. Androgenetic alopecia, a medical condition that causes hair follicles to shrink in size can result in both female and male hair loss.
PRP has been historically used in the clinical setting to promote and accelerate healing. The PRP is a component of blood that contains special proteins that help blood clot as well as support cell growth functions. PRP is used in a variety of clinical settings from orthopedic surgery to microneedling for treatment of acne scars. The foundation for PRP use comes from the fact that by injecting PRP into damaged tissues (unhealthy hair follicles) you help restore and rejuvenate the cells in the treated area.
Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent. Hair loss does not only affect the scalp but it can also occur on any part of the body.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss include:
- Gradual thinning on top of the head
- Circular/patchy bald spots
- Sudden loosening of hair
- Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp
Causes of Hair loss
- The most common cause of hair loss
- Hormonal changes
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems
- Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure
- Radiation therapy
- Stressful events
- Hair treatments
- Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can cause inflammation of hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.
Ideal candidates for PRP Injections for Hair Loss
Good Candidates for PRP Injections for Hair Loss
- Are in the earlier stages of hair loss
- Have small isolated patches or areas of hair loss
- Are experiencing thinning hair, but still have a good number of hair follicles
- Must be in good health and not on any medications that affect bleeding
PRP Injections for Hair Loss Technique
PRP injections for hair loss are performed in office and require minimal preparation by the patient. A topical numbing cream is applied to the scalp about half hour prior to the treatment to improve patient discomfort during the procedure. Your medical provider will draw some of your own blood in order to prepare the PRP solution. Your blood is spun down using a centrifuge in a special PRP extracting tube. The PRP solution is removed from your own blood and small amounts of PRP are injected into the scalp experiencing hair loss or thinning hair.
Usually 4-6 treatments sessions are advised 4-6 weeks apart. Hair texture, thickness and growth of new hair follicles will begin as soon as 2 weeks after initial treatment. We advise patients to wait 3-6 months after initial treatment before assessing final results.
Cost of PRP Injections for Hair Restoration
PRP Treatments cost $800 per session. Typically 4-6 treatments session are recommended spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
Preparation for PRP Injections for Hair Loss
2 Weeks Before Injections
Follow our dietary restrictions.
- For 2 weeks before your appointment avoid nuts, seeds, fish, fish oil, NSAIDs, supplements, and anything that prolongs bleeding. This will significantly help minimize bruising, bleeding and swelling after your injections. Read our Guidelines on Foods and Medications to Avoid Prior to Injections.
- You can start Arnica supplements a week prior to injection to help with post injection bruises. Arica helps to speed up the fading away of bruises. Arnica supplements can be found in most health supplement isles at your Whole Foods, GMC or CVS, as well as purchased from The Naderi Center.
Stopping Medications and Supplements
- Talk to your primary care doctor or physician specialist. If you are on blood thinners you may need to stop these a few days to weeks prior to your injection treatment. Speak to your prescribing physician regarding if it is safe to stop these medications as well as to obtain instructions about when to stop and restart the medication. We do not recommend patients that are on life saving medications stop their medications in order to have any cosmetic procedures performed.
Hair Care Prior to treatment
You may continue any hair loss treatments up until day of treatment including Minoxidil, hormone blocking medications. Hair can be colored or highlighted up to 7 days prior to treatment date.
Day of Injection
Eat and drink before your treatment
- It is not uncommon for patients to “pass-out” or get “vaso-vagal” during their injection. Most people are not fond of needles. Having a good blood sugar and being hydrated will make it less likely that you will feel queasy during your treatment.
Minimize hair gels, hair sprays or other topical hair products day of procedure
- Please avoid hair gel, hair sprays, spray hair colors or other topical hair products day of treatment. Wash your hair the day of your treatment.
Come in 30 minutes prior to appointment time for numbing
- We recommend numbing cream application prior to dermal filler injections. The numbing cream needs a good 20 – 30 minutes to exert its full effect, hence we ask all our injection patients to come a little earlier to allow for the numbing time.
Reserve your next appointment
- We love our loyal patients and making sure that we can see you when you need your next injection is important to us. Most of our physicians book out 3 – 4 months and we prefer to never double book patients. We always recommend that you schedule your next appointment before leaving. PRP injection treatments are recommended every 4-6 weeks.
Recovery after PRP Injections for Hair Restoration
After your PRP injections it is normal to experience bruising, redness, itching, swelling and/or soreness that may last from 2-5 days following your treatment. Often times patients describe their scalp as feeling tight and stiff immediately after their injections. You may scab after microneedling, do not pick at the scabs. You may notice a tingling sensation while the cells are being activated. DO NOT touch, rub, press or manipulate the treated area(s) for at least 8 hours after treatment.
For the first week after your treatment make sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated to promote healing.
Try to refrain from applying ice to the injected area as ice acts as an anti-inflammatory and we want to promote inflammation as part of the treatment. Cold compresses can be applied to reduce swelling if required.
Tylenol, NOT Ibuprofen for pain
If you experience any pain or discomfort you may take Tylenol or other Acetaminophen-containing products as directed. Continue to avoid aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Voltaren and other anti-inflammatory medications for a week after your procedure.
Avoid Strenuous Exercise, Heat, Sun and Swimming Pools
Vigorous exercise, sun and heat can aggravate swelling and bruising after PRP injections. For 48 hours avoid heavy exercise, excessive sun exposure, saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs. No swimming pools for 2 days.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, and Smoking
For 3 days post PRP injections try to avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine consumption. Smokers do not heal well and problems recur earlier and results may take longer.
Continue Guidelines on Foods and Medications to Avoid Prior to Injections Instructions for 1 week after treatment
Hair Care Post Treatment
- Avoid Wetting Treated Soon After Treatment: You may wash your hair the day after your treatment.
- Use a pH Balanced Shampoo. For first 3 days after your treatment be sure to use only pH balanced shampoos.
- Avoid Hair Products Day of Treatment. Do not use any hair products for at least 6 hours after your PRP injections
- Avoid resuming Minoxidil (Formula 82M, Rogaine®), hair coloring, and straightening for 3 days after treatment.
Safety, Risks and Potential Complications after PRP injections for hair loss
PRP injections to the scalp are a relatively safe and effective procedure for most patients experiencing hair loss.
There are a specific group of conditions in which PRP injections would be not advised:
- Patients with impaired immune systems due to immunosuppressive diseases or medications
- Facial or scalp skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma
- Chemotherapy patients
- Accutane patients or patients recently off of Accutane
- Bleeding disorders or platelet dysfunction syndromes
- Active acute or chronic infection in the area desiring treatment
Potential Complications after PRP injections for Hair Restoration Include
- Poor healing
Contact the Office Immediately if any of the Following Signs of Infection Occur:
- Drainage – looks like puss.
- Increased warmth at or around the treated area.
- Fever of 101.5 or greater.
- Severe pain that is unresponsive to over-the-counter pain relievers
Dr. Alexandra Snodgrass, Hair Restoration Specialist at The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Alexandra Snodgrass has extensive experience with PRP injections and hair restoration. Following an in-depth consultation with Dr. Snodgrass will detail out a comprehensive plan for you and her to pursue to improve the condition and health of your hair. Dr. Snodgrass will determine how many treatment session may be necessary and re-evaluate your progress at every follow-up appointment.
Schedule Your Consultation for Treatment of Hair Loss
Contact us to schedule a consultation for dermal filler injection with one of our specialists at The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology. We are located in the greater Washington DC area with two locations, Chevy Chase, Maryland, 301-222-2020 or Reston, Virginia, 703-481-0002. For out of town patients we offer virtual consultation prior to your visit which can be arranged by filling out our contact us form.