Fans of American football team the Buffalo Bills were left aghast when star quarterback Josh Allen injured his elbow in a game in November against the New York Jets. The Bills’ hopes for the Super Bowl rest largely on the form and fitness of Allen, and an injured elbow threatened to keep him out for up to four weeks.
Allen, however, didn’t miss a game. He gave credit for that to the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment he received after sustaining the injury. Maybe you didn’t realise PRP was used for healing injuries? Maybe you thought it was a treatment reserved only for ‘vampire facials’? Or maybe you’ve heard that it’s also used in the battle against hair loss?
This article is going to examine the versatility of PRP. Keep reading to learn more!
Plasma and Platelets Explained
Let’s get to grips with what the words mean. Firstly, ‘plasma’ is simply the fluid that carries the different blood components around the body. ‘Platelets’ are one of those components. They come from our bone marrow, and their main job is to stop bleeding. When we sustain an injury and a blood vessel is damaged, the brain triggers the movement of platelets to the site of the injury.
PRP is obtained by separating the platelets from other blood components using a centrifuge. They are then extracted and injected into the wound or injury. How PRP actually works isn’t yet fully understood, but it’s thought that the anti-inflammatory and growth factors in the concentrated solution stimulate the healing process.
History and Uses
PRP comes in different forms. It is sometimes referred to as GFs, which stands for growth factors, PRF for platelet-rich fibrin, and PCs for platelet concentrates. For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with PRP.
PRP was first used by haematologists in the 1970s to treat patients suffering from thrombocytopenia, a condition characterised by a deficiency of platelets in the blood. PRP was the term used by doctors to describe plasma with a platelet count higher than that of peripheral blood; that’s the blood that circulates all around the body. A decade or so later, PRP was used in maxillofacial surgery. This is the branch of surgery that deals with the treatment of diseases and injuries affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck
Since then, PRP has been used in heart and paediatric surgery, gynaecology, urology, plastic surgery and ophthalmology. It has been used extensively to treat musculoskeletal sports injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, Achilles tendon injuries and tendonitis.
Dermatology and Hair Loss
The interest in PRP from dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons arose because of its role in tissue regeneration, wound healing and skin rejuvenation. Over the years, this effect has been looked at and confirmed by researchers. A 2018 study carried out by dermatologists in Barcelona showed how PRP could stimulate type 1 collagen synthesis. Collagen makes connective tissue and is an important component of bone and skin, as well as soft tissues like ligaments, muscles, tendons and cartilage. PRP is also useful in the healing of burn, surgical and acne scars.
Since 2006, the potential of PRP as an effective treatment for hair loss has been recognised in the hair restoration industry. Its impact in this area has been studied by academics. A study published in 2018 by American researchers, for example, concluded that PRP showed promising results when used to treat androgenetic alopecia.
In 2020, researchers working out of Michigan and Baltimore in the United States published work concluding that PRP could be used to produce hair growth in cases of androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. One of the difficulties highlighted by both these studies, however, is that there is no standard PRP solution. It’s therefore difficult to make comparisons between studies.
PRP can be used as a standalone treatment or to complement other procedures such as hair transplants. It can reverse hair thinning and baldness in most stages of hair loss. It can also be used to boost growth and speed healing. PRP stimulates hair growth from the hair root up, a process that produces thick, healthy strands. The fact that it uses the body’s own resources means it’s a safe treatment.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or hair thinning, you should speak to a hair expert as soon as possible. At Vinci Hair Clinic, we have plenty of those! As one of the largest hair restoration organisations in the world, we can also offer an unrivalled range of treatments and procedures. PRP is just one of these.
Vinci is happy to offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. This can take place at one of our many clinics around the world or by phone, using photographs on WhatsApp. We can work with whatever suits you best. Get in touch and book your consultation today!