Hair loss issues are very common these days. Hair transplantation is one of the most well-known and effective ways to replace lost or thin hair in the scalp. While hair transplant surgery usually has impressive and satisfactory results, some patients are looking for less invasive treatment options.
One of these minimally invasive procedures is the PRP method, which uses platelet-rich plasma to enhance hair regrowth. This non-surgical technique is a newer technique and many people still do not know which is better – PRP or hair transplant. In this article, we intend to address this issue.
Hair transplant vs PRP
Hair transplantation and PRP are two treatments approved by the World Health Organization and FDA that are used to treat hair loss. Advanced devices and equipment are used to perform both techniques, and the patient’s bleeding and pain are very low. The recovery period is relatively short after both methods and the patient can return to work or school after a short period of rest. Fortunately, heavy surgery and anesthesia are not required in any of these procedures.
In hair transplantation, first, a part of the scalp is surgically removed (donor area). Then the two ends of the skin are brought together and sutured. In the next step, the separated skin is divided into small pieces, so that the hair follicles are separated from each other. Now, small incisions are made in the skin of the target areas (recipient areas).
Finally, small pieces of skin and the attached follicles are implanted in the cut skin. So in hair transplantation, no hair is added to you, but hair follicles are removed from the area that has more follicles and implanted in another area that has baldness.
In the PRP method, stimulation of hair growth is created by injecting platelet-rich plasma. PRP causes hair follicles to emerge from the telogen phase (sleep stage) and grow. In that, some blood is first taken from your arm. This is approximately equal to the amount of blood taken from you during a blood test, which is about 10 to 20 ml. Your blood sample is placed in a device called a centrifuge. In this device, different parts of the blood are separated by rapid rotation based on centrifugal force.
Eventually, a solution is obtained that is rich in blood platelets. You are probably familiar with the main role of platelets, which is to clot blood and prevent bleeding. In addition, platelets play a very important role in the healing process of tissue damage. After the PRP solution is isolated and prepared, it is injected into your scalp. As the solution enters the affected area, growth factors are released from the platelets. These factors perform three important functions:
- They stimulate the production of collagen protein.
- They cause new blood vessels to form.
- They organize and divide cells.
Should I get PRP or hair transplant?
The choice of treatment in the first place depends on your needs and the discretion of the doctor. As we said before, the best candidate for hair transplant is who has bald parts in the scalp as there is no possibility of hair regrowth in these areas. While the best candidate for PRP is somebody who needs help to stimulate dormant hair follicles and treat thinning hair. The following may also make you more inclined to one of these treatments:
- Hair transplantation is done in one session only, but the PRP method requires several sessions of treatment.
- Hair transplantation usually costs less than PRP.
- The PRP method requires some time-consuming and sometimes tedious steps for the patient, such as taking blood, injecting a solution, anesthetic creams, etc. But in hair transplantation, such steps are not needed, and it is simpler.
- For those who use certain drugs (such as drugs for cardiovascular or thyroid disease) during and after PRP, special arrangements are made and the patient should be under the supervision of a doctor. But in hair transplants, usually, this is not the case.
- The time to see the final results in PRP is relatively long and sometimes more than a year, but the results appear faster in hair transplantation and the patient feels more satisfied.
- In addition to scalp hair, the hair transplant method can also be used for eyebrow, beard, and mustache, but the PRP method is mainly for transplanting hair only in the scalp.
- PRP is a minimally invasive treatment that minimizes potential risks such as transplant rejection, inflammation, and infection; Therefore, this method is better for people who are looking for less invasive surgeries.
The benefits of these two therapies are obvious. In some cases, your doctor may decide to do PRP in addition to surgical procedures such as hair transplants and non-surgical methods such as mesotherapy to get the best results in the shortest time.