Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy 101 with Dr. Jenni Holman & Tori Burns

January 22, 2020

In this blog, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jenni Holman and physician assistant Tori Burns from the Center for Aesthetic and Laser Medicine (CALM) in Tyler, Texas, walk through the process of platelet-rich plasma injections for hair growth in the scalp. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a relatively new and exciting treatment option in the medical field. We all get so interested in what’s going to work best for us, and natural medicine really explores what’s going to work for each individual. As part of this, many doctors are talking about using your own growth factors to promote healing, hair growth, and maintain a more youthful appearance. How do we harness that? We use platelet-rich plasma therapy.

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma is an intriguing direction that medicine has gone in during the last five or six years. The treatment has been proven effective in harnessing your own stem cells and growth factors for rejuvenation therapies to improve appearance, and as research and studies continue, more treatment options are being uncovered. Most recently, the use of platelet-rich plasma to promote hair growth has been proven effective. The therapy itself is very straightforward and easy. It all starts by extracting the platelet-rich plasma from your body.

The process works as follows:

  • First, we draw a small amount of your own blood.
  • Then, we use a centrifuge to spin it down.
  • As the centrifuge spins, it extracts those platelets and plasma, maintaining all the growth factors and removing all the bad, inflammatory stuff.
  • Finally, we’re left with the PRP or platelet-rich plasma.

What Makes Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Unique?

With PRP therapy, we’re harnessing your own stem cells and growth factors, so you can get the best result because it’s exactly what your individual system needs. Ms. Burns explains that platelet-rich plasma is our body’s own form of regenerative medicine. She says, “When you were little and you skinned your knee the clear stuff that would come to the surface, that’s your plasma, and that’s where your platelets and growth factors are. This is your body’s natural healing mechanism, and that’s what healed your skin.”

When we inject your body’s own PRP back into the scalp, it tells your hair follicles to stimulate new growth. It really is your own body’s healing mechanisms and stem cells doing the work as it would occur naturally. We’ve seen dramatic results in reversing hair loss for men and women, of almost all ages, and sometimes, even inflammatory hair loss can be reversed. Best of all, it’s a very straightforward procedure.

How Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Work?

According to Dr. Holman, “It’s kind of interesting that we continue to learn more and more about what’s in this PRP, and we find more and more uses for it.” For hair loss therapy, the procedure is really simple. In most cases, we’ve drawn the blood and injected the scalp with your own platelet-rich plasma in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: You come into the office, and we draw your blood.

Step 2: In a special centrifuge with a separator tube, we’re able to separate out the red blood cells and all those pro-inflammatory white blood cells.

Step 3: We’re left with this beautiful, golden layer of platelet-rich plasma.

Step 4: We inject the PRP back into your scalp.

Step 5: You return in a month for a follow-up, and maybe another treatment.

How Many Treatments Will You Need?

After your initial session, we see you again in a month to follow up and for retreatment. Usually, we do three monthly sessions, and then, we see you back in three months after the final session. Typically, we start folks with a package of four sessions, and most people do see dramatic results in that first series of four sessions. At the three month follow up, we can decide how often we’re going to continue with maintenance.

Would You Use This Treatment?

We do believe in it, and we use this treatment ourselves:

Dr. Holman says, “For folks where this is something that works, it’s natural, it’s easy, there’s no medicine that you have to take at home to maintain these results. It’s your stem cells, and it’s your hair that grows again.”

According to Ms. Burns, “I treat Dr. Holman. She treats me. I treat Dr. Holman’s husband, and she treats my brothers. We do believe in this medicine.”

We can really see the difference with our before and after images, and we can show that to you when you come in for a follow-up. It’s really fun for patients when they come in for their third and fourth treatments. Sometimes, they’ll say, “I don’t know if it’s working.” We remind them that you look at yourself in the mirror every day, and it’s a really gradual process. It’s really hard to judge something like hair growth on a day-in-day-out basis. Then, they can look at their before and after images, and in just two to three months, they see their hair parts start to narrow, the triangles on the top of the head start to fill in, the ponytail feels thicker.

Does it Really Work for Hair Loss?

It really does work to stimulate hair regrowth, and it makes your hair grow stronger and healthier. It’s not like it’s something we’re trying out or that’s controversial for hair growth. There are numerous studies that validate platelet-rich plasma for androgenic alopecia in both men and women.

Why is it Important to See a Dermatologist for Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Not all hair loss is the same, and one of the nice things about being treated by a board-certified dermatologist is that we’re trained in treating all the different kinds of hair loss. When you come into the office, we don’t assume platelet-rich plasma is the right treatment option. We talk through your situation, examine your scalp, and discuss whether or not you need bloodwork to assess the root cause of your hair loss and determine if it is a condition where we need to address it from the medical side. This is the place to come where you can see a dermatologist who will really assess the situation to find out what’s going on with your hair loss and make sure that platelet-rich plasma is right for you. Even though platelet-rich plasma is really more of a cosmetic treatment, you’ll still be working in-house with someone who’s a physician and trained in hair disorders and hair loss.

How do I Get Started?

If you’re interested in platelet-rich plasma, call the Center for Aesthetic and Laser Medicine in Tyler, Texas, to set up a consultation with Dr. Holman or Ms. Burns today. The consultations are quick and easy, and we can often treat you the same day. If you’re not located in East Texas, take a few minutes to complete the U.S. Dermatology Partners online request form to find a practice location near you.

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