Many of us suffer from thinning hair and hair loss. Hair loss is typically hereditary which means that the genes whose role is to keep hair follicles going tend to gradually shut down resulting in less hair, as well as shorter and finer hairs in the affected areas of the scalp.
For decades hair restoration options have been limited to surgical hair transplants and medical therapy such as Rogaine and Propecia. Advanced non-surgical hair restoration therapies using PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and ACell (extracellular matrix) show great promise in slowing hair loss and increasing hair growth by stimulating inactive hair follicles stem cells.
What is PRP?
PRP is an acronym for Platelet Rich Plasma, which is a concentration of platelets derived from your own blood. Platelets are proven to be a rich source of proteins called growth factors which stimulate stem cell activity in dormant (sleeping) hair follicles for up to 3-4 months.
Can PRP alone be used for Hair Restoration?
While PRP injecions alone (with or without microneedling) have been shown to stimulate hair growth, the success and duration of hair stimulation is not nearly as great as when PRP is combined with ACell extracellaular matrix (ECM). Typically a series of 6 PRP injections is recommended, as opposed to a single ACell+PRP treatment.
What is ACell?
ACell’s MatriStem technology is a biological scaffold based on extracellular matrix (ECM) that works at the cellular level to facilitate repair and regeneration of tissues. ACell is primarily composed of collagen I, II, III, IV, and VII and contains glycosaminoglycans, fibronectin, laminin, and elastin. In addition, it also contains a rich array of growth factors. The growth factors contained in ACell include vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factors alpha and beta 1, keratinocyte growth factor, bone morphogenic protein, insulin-like growth factor, hepatic growth factor, and platelet-derived growth factor.
ACell has proven to be a very powerful tool in hair restoration and when injected into the scalp ACell activates dormant follicular stem cells for up to 18-24 months. Although ACell has a broad range of other medical and surgical applications ACell is not yet FDA approved specifically for the treatment for hair loss.
Why combine ACell with PRP for Hair Restoration?
The combined regenerative powers of PRP and ACell appeas to be a match made in heaven when it comes to promoting hair growth. The ACell + PRP procedure starts with obtaining a small blood sample from the patient, identical to a routine blood draw for lab tests. PRP is then isolated from the blood and mixed with the ACell powder (pictured above). Local anesthetic (numbing medication) is used to numb the scalp and the Acell + PRP injections are perfromed once the scalp is numb. The procedure takes less than an hour and the recovery is quick, without any open wounds, sutures, staples, or dressings. A variable amount of scalp discomfort and swelling may be present for 1-2 days.
Growth of new hair is seen as early as a month but typically within 4-6 months after the ACell + PRP procedure and the hair continues to become thicker over a period of 12-18 months. Although significant improvement can be seen with just a single Acell + PRP treatment, a series of ACell + PRP procedures could maximize potential hair growth . Men typically see results after a few months, with full benefit manifesting in about a year to 18 months. Results often take longer to appear in women since their longer hair may hide the new shorter hairs which have regrown.
Who can benefit from ACell + PRP?
ACell + PRP treatments restore hair quality and quantity for men and women with thinning hair and can help prevent hair from additional shedding. PRP + ACell treatment is also an option for patients who’ve had surgical hair restoration previously and wish to increase hair density without more surgery. PRP + ACell treatment can also be used in patients who wish to maintain their hair without using medication like Propecia or Rogaine.
When are ACell + PRP not likely to be effective?
ACell + PRP treatments are more effective on patients experiencing hair loss and hair thinning, as opposed to those with severe hair loss who have a completely smoothed scalp (i.e. not even thin hairs). ACell + PRP treatments can only work on existing (but miniaturized) hair follicles that are still alive and present on the head but they cannot bring back dead hair follicles. Whether or not a specific patient will respond to ACell + PRP is not predictable.
What about the Longevity of ACell + PRP?
The longevity of ACell + PRP treatments can vary from patient to patient but has been shown to be in the range of years. Majority of patients may need only one ACell + PRP treatment but patients with more advanced hair thinning may require additional treatmens in 12-18 month intervals to further build on initial results.
What is the cost of ACell + PRP?
ACell + PRP treatments vary based on the size of the region being treated. In our clinic the cost of PRP + ACell treatments for hair restoration depends on the size of the area being treated but are typically ~ $2,500.
What is Nanofat?
Nano fat grafting refers to fat that has been pushed through a filter and essentially turned into a thick liquid which is rich in stem cells and growth factors. This type of fat is not used to provide structure and volume but rather to stimulate hair follicles and tissue regeneration. Nano fat grafs can be injected with a small needle, same as is used to inject ACell and PRP.
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