A hair transplant certainly came as a blessing for those who were suffering from permanent hair loss. While there are many people who pull off their bald heads, there are many who feel uncomfortable and saddened by the idea of complete hair loss.
This is because their hair has been a part of their identity for so long. Losing your hair permanently is a devastating experience. Although hair transplant surgery can restore your hair for a lifetime, PRP and hair transplant together are an even better combination.
Many people don’t realize that having PRP therapy after a hair transplant surgery is very much a possibility. In fact, some surgeons recommend their patients PRP therapy after a hair transplant as it can improve the results of the surgery. However, many people don’t understand how exactly things will go about.
For instance, they’re in the dark about the number of sessions needed and if getting PRP therapy is always a good idea. What if it ends up making the person lose more hair than before?
Moreover, the bigger threat is to the newly transplanted hair grafts. What if the PRP therapy ends up damaging those if you undergo consecutive sessions of it? No worries, we’re here to guide you about PRP and hair transplants in detail. So, let us get into it.
What Is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma is a plasma protein that is separated from whole blood by the process of centrifugation to isolate it from red blood cells (RBCs). The liquid portion of the whole blood is called plasma. It largely comprises water and proteins and serves as a medium for RBCs, white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets to circulate throughout the body.
Platelets are a type of blood cell that leads to blood clots and other important growth-healing functions. So, PRP therapy involves the injection of a patient’s own concentrated platelets to hasten the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles or joints. PRP for hair loss complements the growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells in the body.
Why Should You Consider Getting PRP and Hair Transplant?
This comes down to the fact that even after getting a hair transplant, you need to take good care of your hair. The combination of PRP and hair transplant is recommended because of the following reasons:
Increases Hair Density
The injections increase blood flow to the hair follicles, providing them with oxygen and nutrients. This helps accelerate their growth. One study showed an improvement in hair count, thickness, root strength, and hair loss in people with androgenetic alopecia who were given PRP injections.
Speeds Up Recovery
PRP injections are derived from the patient’s own blood. They can help trigger a healing response in the skin because of the concentration of platelets. Proteins and growth factors further help with their growth. This means that you can see the results more quickly and shorten the overall recovery period.
Works Better than Minoxidil
In one study, eleven patients who were suffering from androgenetic alopecia were given PRP injections after they had not responded to 6-month minoxidil and finasteride treatment. After every two weeks, 2-3 cc (volume) PRP injections were given to the patients. In total, 4 sessions were carried out.
The hair count of patients increased from 71 to 93 follicular units. In this study, a “pull test” was also performed on the hair of the patients. The pull test was negative in 9 out of 11 patients, which indicated a normal hair-shedding process.
Is It Necessary That You Get PRP With A Hair Transplant?
It is highly recommended (not necessary) that you get a PRP with a hair transplant. A hair transplant is a surgical procedure where hair grafts are removed from one place on the head and inserted at another site on the scalp. Of course, the surgeon has to make cuts, albeit very small, on the scalp to remove and place the hair grafts.
The whole procedure shocks the scalp so much that many people experience temporary hair shedding after getting a hair transplant. Even though you will recover from it on your own after some time, PRP can help boost growth. PRP and hair transplant (even a stem cell hair transplant) can be done together if you so desire.
Should You Get PRP Therapy Before Hair Transplant?
Many people get confused about the timing of when they should get PRP injections. Should it be before or after a hair transplant? You can very well get PRP before the hair transplant surgery. The treatment will thicken your roots which will help the surgeon see the hair grafts even more clearly during the surgery.
Thicker, stronger grafts also mean that their chances of survival increase more than before. However, you can also get it right after the surgery (especially if you have a needle phobia).
The patient will not have to endure the pain caused by the injection as they will already be under the local anaesthesia given for the hair transplant procedure. If you do get these together though it is more cost-effective as overhead costs will already have been covered.
How Many PRP Sessions Are Suggested?
Many people are curious about the total number of sessions they need to get the results that they’re looking for. We recommend you get PRP injections 4 to 6 times in the first year.
- You can get the first injection 2-4 weeks before the surgery to strengthen the roots.
- The second injection will be on the day of the surgery.
- The next injection session will take place 1-3 months after the transplant
- The last one will be 6-9 months after the transplant.
This is the timeline that our hair transplant surgeons suggest so that you can see the best possible results from the surgery.
If you didn’t get your first injection before the surgery, you don’t need to worry. You can get the first injection on the surgery date and have the last one no longer than 12 months later. After one year, we recommend you get maintenance injections once a year. These will, of course, keep your hair strong.
Another good thing about PRP injections is that they will also support the growth of your non-transplanted hair. If you continue experiencing hair loss after getting the surgery, PRP injections can also slow down hair loss.
Depending on certain factors, some people continue to lose their hair after the surgery. They may require another session. Here too, PRP together with a hair transplant can help thicken and strengthen their hair.
When Will You Start Seeing the Results of the PRP Therapy?
You can expect to start seeing the results after a month or so. But you might have to wait for about 4 months before you start noticing the change. You might need at least 3 sessions to see the results that you desire.
As far as the longevity of your results is concerned, you should know that the treatment of the underlying cause of hair loss will determine that.
If the reason why you’re losing your hair is resolved, you might not need to have any new sessions for PRP therapy. Otherwise, you might need one or two maintenance sessions each year.
Is There a Limit To the Number of PRP Injections You Can Get?
When it comes to a limit on the number of PRP injections, you might need to get them if the hair loss continues. Therefore, it is better to get your scalp checked for the treatment of the underlying cause of hair loss. That way, you won’t have to keep getting injections for a long time.
There are some doctors who argue that having too many PRP injections can have an adverse effect. It can end up making you lose your hair. However, keep in mind that this argument doesn’t have scientific evidence. In fact, PRP injection studies have only found PRP effective, not the reverse. It is rare for people to experience hair loss as a result of PRP.
The usage of PRP injections has been going on since the 1980s but for different purposes. PRP injections for hair loss are a fairly recent phenomenon. Research about it is still going on. However, it is generally considered effective because of its healing capabilities.
If you’re planning to have PRP with a hair transplant, you can book your treatments at the same time. It’s, in fact, recommended to patients that they get both, with the PRP therapy starting either weeks before the surgery or the day of the surgery, right after the procedure is done.
Not only can it strengthen the existing hair but also the newly transplanted hair by providing them with essential nutrients and proteins to help in their healing. This will also ensure high graft survival after the surgery, which, of course, affects the overall density of the hair.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.