The concern of hair loss can be devastating in both men and women causing loss of self esteem and self confidence. Hair loss can be localized or generalized, be a result of a medical condition, a side-effect of medications, the result of a dermatological condition, or is genetically pre-determined. Hair loss can also be multifactorial. As such, treatment requires a multi-modality approach and should be tailored to each individual based on history, examination and appropriate tests. It is a concern that requires a systematic, long term approach for best outcomes.
There are several treatments that have become common solutions for hair loss:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine™) – Topical treatment.
- Finasteride (Propecia™) – Oral treatment. Works by inhibiting the the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the specific hormone responsible for male and female pattern baldness.
Minoxidil and Finasteride were important steps forward as they were the first hair-loss treatments with proven efficacy for androgenic alopecia and female pattern hair loss.
Newer treatment options for hair loss include:
- Light-based devices – With the now proven role of inflammation in hair loss in both genders, low level light therapy (LLLT) devices, with their known anti-inflammatory effect, are gaining increasing acceptance as a treatment for hair growth.
- Regenerative therapy – Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and human-derived growth factors from neonatal cells grown under stimulated conditions.
Synergistic effects are likely when two or more treatments are used together as combination modalities are based on different mechanisms of action.
Hair Rejuvenation Program
Ong Institute for Plastic Surgery and Health provides options for hair rejuvenation to provide a comprehensive program for men and women facing hair loss. Our program focuses on awareness, education, a multi-modality treatment program and a long-term follow-up protocol.
Our treatment program may include:
- Identifying medical causes of hair loss
- Laboratory testing including micronutrient testing and customized nutrient supplement program
- Low-Level Light therapy (Laser)
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy
- Human-derived growth factor therapy
- Amniotic-derived allografts and other regenerative tissue options
WILL I NEED PRP?
Hair loss is a chronic progressive problem that is multifactorial. Genetics, illness, medications, etc. all affect hair loss. That is why it is important to understand that the treatment is long term and involves multiple modalities for optimal outcomes.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is one of the tools that is being used for hair regeneration. It works by utilizing the growth factors present within the platelets (one of the components of blood). There are many other important components of the treatment plan that also deserve to be mentioned as they all work together to keep your hair at its best genetic potential.
Looking for medical causes of hair loss, avoiding activities that can accelerate hair loss, the use of low light therapy, and adequate nutrition, are all very important factors to consider when it comes to treating this problem.
PRP can help with angiogenesis (creating new blood vessels), activate stem cells and stimulate hair growth through various cellular mechanisms. The growth factors and proteins within the platelets are released around the hair follicle to help with the regeneration process. It also works by reducing the inflammation around the hair follicle caused by various factors such as hormones, autoimmune disease etc. In simple terms, it stimulates new hair follicles to grow but “waking-up” the stem cells and creating new blood vessels. It is the “on-switch” that would allow hair follicles to grow. Other modalities, such as low-level light therapy, topical minoxidil and oral Finasteride, can stop further hair loss and create the necessary optimal environment for hair growth.
Sometimes, human-derived growth factors or amniotic-derived allografts are used in conjunction with PRP or as an alternative to PRP in hair growth. These are used when the platelets being used are not optimal for regeneration such as medical illness, age, steroid use, or in a person who is actively smoking.
For patients that need a hair transplant e.g. Follicular unit extraction (FUE), PRP can be used to improve the donor hair follicles, and the condition of the scalp to be receiving the transplant. It is also important to know that the same factors that affect hair loss, can also affect the newly transplanted hairs. This is why long term follow-up and treatment plans are important.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS DO I NEED?
The goal is to set one up for success!
First it is always important to remember that genetic hair loss is a long term problem. So the treatment is going to be long term. Sometimes, hair loss is due to other factors, such as thyroid disorders or nutritional problems. Sometimes, it is superimposed on a person that is genetically predetermined for hair loss, and an event such as chemotherapy or cancer treatment turns on the genetic coding for their hair loss and this manifests itself after the treatment.
Typically, most patients will need one PRP, sometimes two treatments. It all depends on the severity of the condition and how much improvement is considered “adequate” for a given person. Those that need more may be candidates for growth factor, amniotic-derived allografts or may be a hair restoration candidate.
The reasons why we can achieve success with our treatment program is that we set you up for success with:
- Professional low-level light (laser) therapy treatments, which is such a crucial player in hair regeneration. The use of LLT Increase cell metabolism and the health of blood vessels in the scalp for thicker, supple and more durable hair shafts. It can also:
- Stimulate the sebaceous glands for silkier-looking hair.
- Increase melanin production in the hair follicles, darkening gray hairs.
- High quality PRP processing system to obtain optimal platelet concentrations and combination of cells for regeneration. This will stimulate new blood vessel growth and attract the activation of stem cells.
- Identify and rule out other cases of hair loss through medical history and blood work if necessary.
- Identify and assist with supplements / nutrition for hair growth.
- Use of vitamins, growth factors and amniotic-derived allografts if necessary to help as second line therapy or combination therapy if the growth factors from your own platelets are inadequate due to medications, smoking, age etc.
- Long term plan for hair maintenance with hair care and other products.
HOW IS THE TREATMENT PERFORMED?
The treatment is done in the office with topical and local anesthetic. Pre-procedural instructions will be given to ensure that you are optimally prepared for the procedure.
- Topical anesthetic is applied, followed by injection of local anesthetic in certain areas of your forehead and scalp.
- Blood is obtained for processing to “create” the PRP.
- Micro-needling and injection of the PRP to the area is performed with or without additional use of growth factors.
Patients do well with our protocol of PRP administration. Mild discomfort is experienced that will subside over the next hour or so. We understand that the injecting your scalp with a needle multiple times is not something that is considered “pleasant”, thus we do our very best to minimize discomfort in several ways. The primary one being the use of high quality PRP to reduce the need for multiple treatments of PRP injections.
For patients that undergo growth factor treatment:
- A micro-needling session every week for 5 consecutive weeks is scheduled
- Home protocols for growth factor therapy is given.
Patients are then instructed to continue low-light (LASER) therapy, if indicated and follow-up is scheduled accordingly.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY LIKE?
The procedure is done with some local anesthetic in the office. There is mild discomfort with the tiny needles used. Recovery is minimal. No hair washing till the next day, and back to normal activities. Pre-procedural instructions are given prior, and if followed there will be minimal swelling, pain or bruising afterward.