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Can Platelet Rich Protein Treat Male Pattern Baldness?

Hair loss is a common and frustrating problem for many men. Close to 85% of men will experience hair loss during their lives, and most of that hair loss is genetic. Currently, there are two drugs with FDA approval to treat androgenic alopecia, more commonly called male pattern baldness. Minoxidil and Finasteride have both been shown to reduce hair loss and in some cases have helped hair to grow back. Patients must take either drug indefinitely to have long-term effectiveness.

“However, these medications don’t work for everyone, and though relatively rare, they can cause significant side effects in some men,” explains Dr. Aron Gewirtzman, board certified Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas.  When treating hairloss, it is important to develop a long-term strategy and take a multifactorial approach, as we are fighting against genetics every day for the rest of a patient’s life.  

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) helps to treat many medical conditions, and researchers are studying it as an option for treating male pattern baldness.” notes Dr. Gewirtzman. When used for hair loss, PRP therapy involves collecting blood from a patient, separating out the platelets, and injecting them into the scalp. Patients receive injections approximately 1 cm apart over the area being treated. The injected solution has a high concentration of growth factors, which help to rejuvenate the areas where it’s used.

PRP is generally injected once every 4-6 weeks for three sessions in what is known as the induction phase.  After that, maintenance injections should be performed every 3-6 months to sustain optimal results.

Researchers have conducted several studies to determine PRP’s effectiveness in treating genetic hair loss. In one clinical trial, all 10 patients (eight men and two women) treated with PRP showed improvements in amount and thickness of hair after three months of treatment, along with a 65% reduction in the hair pull test. The control patients in the trial showed no change in either hair growth nor improvement in the hair pull test.  Another study showed improved hair growth in men who had not responded to traditional medications (finasteride and minoxidil). In each of these studies, the patients received injections every two weeks. Although several studies have shown short-term hair growth and reduced hair loss, more studies must be done to determine if PRP is an effective long-term solution.

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