New study confirms benefit of platelet rich plasma benefits androgenetic alopecia
Several studies in the past 4-5 years have pointed to a beneficial role for platelet rich plasma (PRP). What has been missing from many of these studies is proper comparison between areas that received the PRP and area that received a placebo.
A new study looked at the benefits of PRP in 25 patients. PRP was injected into ½ of the head and placebo was injected into the other half. Each of the patients received 3 treatments – one month apart. Then, the researchers looked at the changes in hair growth at times 3 months and 6 months.
The authors used a PRP concentration 3 times higher than the concentration in the whole blood (3 times above baseline) and activated the blood with calcium chloride.
What were the results?
The study showed that PRP treatment led to an increase in anagen (growing hairs), and an increase in hair density at month 3 (when treatment ended) and this was still present 3 months later (at month 6).
Interesting, it appears there is some reduction in the effects of PRP if patients do not receive additional treatments. For example, at month 3 hair density was noted to increase by 14.8 hairs per sq cm in the treatment group and be reduced by 0.7 hairs per sq cm in the control group. However, by month 6, the hair density was onlyincreased by12.8 hairs per sq cm compared to a reduction in 2 hairs per sq cm in the control group.
This is yet another study supporting the benefits of PRP. There remain many unknowns in PRP including what are the differences between using blood that is 3 times above baseline vs 5 times above baseline, what is is the appropriate amount of PRP to inject, and what is the appropriate method of activation (calcium chloride, calcium gluconate or thrombin).
PRP continues to be an exciting field. We have an active interest in addressing some of these questions.
Alves et al. Randomized placebo controlled double blind half head study to assess the efficacy of platelet rich plasma on the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Deramtologic Surgery. 2016; 42:491-7.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299