Keep a Full Head of Hair, No Surgery Needed!

Article by Jill Sohayda, MD

Hair thinning – who wants that? When men or women experience hair loss, they often feel unhappy and less confident. They also often feel there is no way to help their condition. Now, stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy offer a great option for men and women looking to restore their scalp to its youthful state with a full head of hair.

How Does Hair Grow?

Hair growth has several stages also known as a growth cycle. The three stages of the hair growth cycle are anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen phase is known as the hair growth phase. During this phase, the hair typically grows about one centimeter per month. This growth phase can last three to five years and is determined by genetics. The next phase is the catagen phase which is a short transitional phase that lasts about 10 days. This is the period when the hair is exiting the anagen phase and is switching to the next phase. The last phase is the telogen phase or resting phase. Ten to 15 percent of a person’s hair is in this phase at any given time. During this phase the follicle begins to grow again to prepare for the next catagen phase.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair growth is genetic and it slows with age. Fifty percent of men over the age of 50 will be affected to some degree by male pattern baldness. In fact, by the age of 35, 40 percent of men will have noticeable hair loss.  Women are also affected by hair loss, with 80 percent noticing hair thinning by the age of 60.

Hair growth is regulated by androgens, a type of hormone. Scientists think that a particular hormone, called DHT, makes hair follicles shrink. With male pattern baldness, the growth cycle duration decreases and eventually ceases altogether.

How Do Stem Cells and PRP Help?

Stem cells and PRP are essential for the production of healthy new cells and maintaining the health of existing cells. There is evidence that stem cells work by re-triggering the growth and reproduction of cells in an area of the body that was formerly too old or damaged to do so on its own. Stem cells have the remarkable ability to become any type of cell. In addition, they serve as a type of internal repair system to replenish lost cells.

PRP is loaded with platelets containing growth factors and healing proteins that signal the cells to repair themselves. These growth factors and proteins stimulate inactive hair follicles to go into an active growth phase. It will increase blood flow to the hair follicle and increase the shaft size (thickness) of the hair. 

PRP is obtained by drawing a small amount of blood and using a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. Stem cells and/or PRP can be injected into the scalp. These injections are quick, taking only 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The results appear gradually and become most noticeable five to 12 months after treatment. Treatments are done every four weeks for a total of four to five treatments. Maintenance treatments once or twice a year are recommended

Who Is Not a Candidate for Stem Cell and PRP Therapy?

Most men and women are candidates for this therapy. However, certain medical conditions such as platelet dysfunction syndromes, cancer or chronic liver disease are not conducive to receiving these treatments.

Is This a Cure for Hair Loss?

While PRP and stem cell therapy are great treatments for hair loss, genetic medical problems will always remain. However, there is evidence that with regular medical treatment, hair thinning can be dramatically diminished.

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