Local injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for androgenic alopecia was associated with an increased number of hairs and some hair thickness improvement, according to a systematic literature review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.
Lead author Salvatore Giordano, M.D., PhD, an adjunct professor in plastic surgery at the University of Turku in Finland, was inspired to undertake the literature review because of his own private practice in aesthetic plastic surgery.
“I wanted to find out the real evidence on the use of platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia as an alternative or adjunct to hair transplantation,” Dr. Giordano tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.
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The investigators reviewed six studies involving 177 patients.
There was a significant increase (24%) in local hair number per cm2 with PRP compared to control (scalp areas treated with placebo, vitamin preparations or interfollicular placental extract).
Similarly, the percentage increase in hair thickness for the PRP group was 42% after treatment, representing a 33% increase over control.
“These results confirm the perception that PRP can help men with hair loss,” Dr. Giordano says. “The fact that this treatment modality is significantly superior to other injections or local treatments for alopecia is important for patients with this problem. They should try PRP, even before and/or after hair transplant.”
PRP is more effective compared to other local treatments, due to its mechanisms of action. “PRP contains a large number of growth factors like platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor (TGF)-b, FGF and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) — all participating in tissue renovation,” Dr. Giordano conveys.
Moreover, there are no contraindications or allergies associated with PRP because it is extracted from the patient's own blood.
“However, the best PRP treatment protocol for androgenetic alopecia is still unknown,” Dr. Giordano says. “I personally recommend a series of three to four treatments, each one spaced three weeks apart. And in order to maintain the achieved results, one PRP treatment every six months thereafter.”