The PRP injection is a revolutionary therapy that uses the healing components derived from your own blood to provide a non-surgical intervention that has a variety of applications, including treatment of hair loss, augmenting facial rejuvenation procedures and alleviating pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis.
How PRP is Made
We create PRP in a single 30-minute visit to our office. It’s simple and painless, requiring a blood draw from your body. Think of it almost like a blood test. After drawing your blood, our staff will place it in a centrifuge for processing. This device, which spins the blood vial at high speeds, results in a separation of your blood into concentrated platelet and red blood cells. PRP does not use red blood cells, so those are discarded. What remains is concentrated rich plasma or PRP. The solution contains hundreds of growth factors that are used to treat your condition. As you will have a blood draw, make sure that you eat a good meal prior to your appointment.
How are the Injections Administered?
The injection process occurs within a hour from the time that the PRP is created from your own blood. Once the PRP is collected, it’s injected back into the area of your body targeted for treatment. Sometimes an anesthetic is adminitered prior to the injection. We use ultrasound to guide us to the proper site for the PRP injection when tendons, ligaments or joints are involved. The number of injections you receive will vary according to your condition, but you can generally expect two to six injections over time.
VIVAA offers PRP injections for these common conditions: in combination with microneedling, hair loss and for painful conditions such as osteoarthritis or tendon injuries.
PRP With Microneedling
Collagen induction therapy, another name for microneedling, is a popular cosmetic procedure that can help minimize aging. During a standard session, we employ a roller with special needles that create tiny holes in the skin to jump start the body’s healing process and stimulate production of new collagen. Many patients ask to have PRP injections performed in conjunction with microneedling to create tighter skin while also speeding healing. Using PRP can boost the benefits of microneedling when the latter is used to combat scarring, wrinkle and various forms of hyperpigmentation. Patients usually realize their goals more quickly. We can only use PRP in conjunction with microneedling for the face, even though that procedure can diminish stretch marks and scars on other areas of the body.
If you’re in good health and want to get rid of those pesky signs of aging, combining these two procedures may be for you. It’s counterindicated if you are pregnant, have rosacea or eczema, use Accutane, are prone to scarring, have skin that heals poorly or had your skin irridated during the past year.
Restoring Hair With PRP
Common Causes of Hair Loss and Thinning
Hormone Effects on Hair:
Estrogen increases the amount of time that hair spends in the growing phase, so when estrogen declines, hair loses these protective effects and starts to thin and fall.
Androgenic effects of testosterone can also be intensified – where testosterone’s metabolite dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can produce progressively weaken hair due to the follicle’s failure to thrive. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women.
Stress and Hair loss:
Stress molecules like cortisol can target and damage the hair follicle. Many women in their 20s and 30s start losing hair due to stress-related issues.
Anemia and Hair loss:
While hair loss is not the most common symptom of iron-deficiency anemia, it does affect approximately half of those with low ferritin stores. Hair follicles actually hang on to ferritin. When the body is low in iron, it can pull ferritin from places like hair follicles, deemed not as important as, let’s say, red blood cell production. The resulting effect is diffuse hair loss.
Thyroid Hormone and Hair loss:
In hypothyroidism, hair tends to be dry, brittle, dull, and diffusely thinned out – even eyebrow hair can fall out. When the reverse is true and there’s too much thyroid hormone, hair will also fall out.
Vit D and Hair loss:
Vit D actually helps create new hair follicles by initiating the anagen phase. It does so by regulating the expression of genes that are required for hair follicle cycling. A number of symptoms, such as hair loss, can occur when the body lacks enough vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 and Hair loss:
To keep hair follicles active, you need healthy blood flow – the oxygen-rich red blood cells feed the hair follicles. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, does exactly that – it promotes healthy hair growth by assisting in the production of these red blood cells.
Treatment for Hair loss and Thinning:
Correcting the Underlying Condition:
Once, you have decided that you want to do something about the hair loss and thinning please call us at 425-250-9999 to schedule a complimentary consult with our providers. We will go over your history and review the recent labs if done and try to find the cause of the hair loss and thinning. We might even order new lab work to see if there is any underlying cause of hair loss and recommend correcting that deficiency.
Minoxidil for Hair Loss:
We have known for several years that minoxidil stimulates hair growth, yet our understanding of its mechanism of action on the hair follicle is very limited. In animal studies, topical minoxidil shortens telogen, causing premature entry of resting hair follicles into anagen, and it probably has a similar action in humans. Minoxidil may also cause prolongation of anagen and increases hair follicle size. The basic mechanism is dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles.
PRP for Hair Loss:
Most of the times there is no underlying deficiency and stress could be the main cause of hair loss. In such cases Platelet Rich Plasma can be used to provide all the nutrients to the hair follicles to help with their growth.
When PRP is injected into the scalp, the treatment increases blood supply to hair follicles along with greater thickness in hair shafts, which essentially prompts growth of your hair. Patients often like to use this approach when undergoing other hair loss treatments.
VIVAA’s typical procedure for restoring hair with PRP involves a course of monthly injections for the initial three to four months and then maintenance treatments every four to six months. We inject the plasma directly into the area of your scalp that has suffered hair loss. Factors determining how frequently and how long your course of injections last is determined by factors such as your amount of hair loss, its pattern, your age and genetic makeup and hormones.
Research from one study in 2014 showed that after about four PRP treatments, patients with male hair loss realized approximately 30% more hair in previously thin areas. A 2017 Italian study also found that men undergoing PRP injections had thicker and more hair in the treatment areas. Generally, both male and female patients see improvement in about three to four months, seeing a regrowth rate of 30% to 40%. You will see better hair regrowth with PRP injections if your hair loss is recent. It is more difficult to “wake up” hair follicles if hair loss is more than five years old.
You may not be a candidate if smoke heavily, take blood thinning medications, abuse drugs or alcohol, or have one of the following conditions:
- Chronic or acute infections
- Skin disease
- Liver disease
- Metabolic disorders
- System disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Platelet dysfunction syndrome
PRP for Pain Management
Many advanced musculoskeletal problems require alleviation of pain. PRP injections are delivered into and around the center of the problem or an injury. By placing the plasma near the afflicted area, your body’s natural healing is activated to provide long-lasting relief from pain. Performed safely in our office, these injections will give you relief without having to undergo invasive surgery, experience side effects from anesthesia or having to remain in the hospital for a prolonged period to accomplish recovery. In most instances, you can return to work and other activities immediately after your appointment.
Most patients find relief with first treatment but a few require several injections before getting relief. The ultimate goal of PRP therapy is to achieve pain relief through healing of the affected areas, leading to long-term results. As your tissue heals, your pain is relieved. Pain eases gradually as the plasma begins to do its job. A number of scientific studies have shown that PRP therapy relieves pain to the extent that patients can resume their normal life patterns. When these tissues are examined via ultrasound and MRI following treatment, healing is generally confirmed. By treating diseased or injured tissues before the condition becomes irreversible, deterioration is halted, forestalling or even eliminating the need for surgery.
Effectiveness and Conditions Treated
The effectiveness of PRP can vary and can be influenced by:
- The treatment site
- Your general health
- Type of injury: acute or chronic
Chronic Tendon Injuries
Contemporary research indicates that PRP is most effective when treating chronic tendon conditions, particularly tennis elbow.
Acute Muscle and Ligament Injuries
Professional athletes who have suffered knee sprains, pulled hamstrings and other common injuries have found relief through PRP therapy.
PRP is often used to speed healing after some surgeries involving joints such as those involving the knees and shoulders.
Joint inflammation from osteoarthritis that causes painful and stiff knees can be successfully treated through PRP.
To learn more about PRP injections and their applications, contact the staff at VIVAA today. We’ll be happy to set up an evaluation and discuss the procedure with you. Call us at 425-250-9999 or use our online schedule a consultation form.
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