Latest Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy Study Confirms Medi Tresse Protocols

If you have read our blogs before you have probably read one of our posts about how there is no standard protocol for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, which makes it difficult for patients as they determine the best treatment option for them.  Not only are there multiple Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) kits used, with varying amounts of blood drawn and number of spins, but the protocol that practices follow can differ.  For instance, our research has shown that it is best to start patients with a protocol of one treatment a month for three months.  We pride ourselves on making sure that our protocols are based on the best available research and this constant review led us to our exclusive Optimal Platelet Concentration™ Therapy treatment that we started to offer this year.  While we are confident in our treatment plans, it is always great when we come across more research that confirms our protocols, which is why we were excited to see the results of a recent study released in the October 2019 edition of the journal of Dermatologic Surgery titled Platelet-Rich Plasma as a Treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia.

While this study in the journal of Dermatologic Surgery was not a new study on Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, instead it was a review of 10 of the more substantive studies on Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy to evaluate the effectiveness of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.  Based on the review of previous studies it found a few essential factors that the authors believe are important for successful treatment with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:

 

Initial Treatment It is recommended that patients start with one treatment a month for three months for a total of three treatments followed by a maintenance regimen
Activation of Platelets Activating the platelets with calcium chloride or scalp needling is recommended
Platelet Concentration The optimal concentration of platelets for the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is 1.5 billion per ml

These findings are important, because they are consistent with our current treatment plans, specifically the Optimal Platelet Concentration™ Therapy.  With our Optimal Platelet Concentration™ Therapy we are conducting a platelet count on the day of treatment, which allows us to customize the treatment to ensure that we are reaching the optimal concentration of 1.5 billion per ml.   Our goal is to always provide the best possible treatments backed by research and this study confirms that we are doing that.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Update - Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy A Treatment Option for Alopecia Areata

Back in 2016 we wrote a blog post about how new research has shown Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy to be an effective treatment for Alopecia Areata.  It has now been three years since then and we wanted to provide an update on where we stand with utilizing PRP Therapy as a treatment for Alopecia Areata.  Before we get into the update, it is important to understand Alopecia Areata and how it is different from other forms of hair loss.  Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, which causes inflammation around the follicle and ultimately causes the hair to fall out.  There are various types of Alopecia Areata and it can affect the scalp, eyebrows, or the hair all over your body.  It is important to understand that when a flareup occurs, the hair is not gone forever, and many patients are able to regrow their hair through various treatments.  However, due to the disease, a flareup can reoccur at any time causing the hair loss again.  Historically, the only treatment for Alopecia Areata was steroids, both injected and topically applied on the affected areas.  However, using steroids long term is never ideal and not all patients tolerate them well.

In the past three years we have had 6 patients with Alopecia Areata (with varying degrees of loss) that have moved forward with PRP Therapy.  Of these 6 patients, 4 saw benefit from the PRP Therapy and 2 did not.  Based on the current research and the small sample size we have seen in our office, we would certainly continue to offer PPR Therapy for Alopecia Areata, especially for those patients that tried steroids with little or no success.  Our PRP Therapy protocol for Alopecia Areata is slightly different than that of patients with other types of hair loss.  Our typical PRP Therapy protocol is to start with three treatments, however for patients with Alopecia Areata, if we see results during the treatment period we will complete up to 6 treatments to help stimulate further healing of the area.

If you have been struggling with Alopecia Areata and want to find out if Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy might be an option for you schedule your free consultation today with our medical team.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Keeping Up with Hair Loss and the Kardashians

You probably do not come to our website looking for the latest news about the reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian from Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  To be totally honest, it is not a show that I typically watch, but a recent episode made headlines regarding hair loss and a well-known hair loss treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy.  For those that missed it, Kourtney Kardashian found a spot on the crown of her head that had significant hair loss.  Kourtney blamed the hair loss on a recent tight ponytail she had worn and went to see a physician that diagnosed her with Traction Alopecia.  Traction Alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs from pulling the hair too tightly over an extended period of time.  Ultimately, the doctor prescribed a treatment plan of three Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy treatments over the course of three months to help heal the damaged follicles and regrow the hair she lost.

While it is difficult to asses someone strictly from TV, the idea of getting Traction Alopecia from over styling is very probable and very common.  It is important to remember that it is unlikely that wearing your hair in a certain style for one night would cause so much damage to the follicles that hair loss occurs, however, if that hair style is continued often over a prolonged period of time it can absolutely cause hair loss.  We see this all the time in women who consistently pull their hair back tight, wear tight ponytails, or have cornrows.  For a woman diagnosed with Traction Alopecia, PRP Therapy is a great treatment option if the hair loss occurred in the past few years.  However, if the hair style is continued, the hair loss will continue.

While I do not usually feel there is much to learn from Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the experience Kourtney had is an important one for many people to see.  Unfortunately, hair loss can happen to any of us for various reasons, but it is so important to seek medical help as soon as you see signs of hair loss.  Getting an appropriate diagnosis regarding your hair loss is key to starting the right treatments and treating your loss.  If you think you are seeing signs of hair loss make sure you see hair loss specialist right away.

Posted by Mary Wendel, M.D.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and Scarring Alopecia

Over the past five years there has been a greater acceptance in the use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for hair loss as we have seen many successful studies.  However, most of the research and studies focused on patients with androgenic alopecia, which is tied to genetics and is the most common cause of hair loss.  As the benefits of PRP Therapy are being more understood, we are seeing its uses expanded, including in the treatment of Alopecia Areata and some Scarring Alopcias.  There was an exciting case study shared in the July 2019 journal of Dermatologic Surgery on the successful treatment of two patients with scarring alopecia using PRP Therapy.

While less common than androgenic alopecia, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, patients with scarring alopecia make up 7% of patients experiencing hair loss.  While the cause of scarring alopecia is not entirely known, scarring alopecia causes inflammation around that hair follicle that eventually leads to the permanent destruction of the follicle.  There are various types of scarring alopecias, with the most common being Lichen Planopilaris (LPP), Frontal Fibrosing (Alopecia), and Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA).  For each type of scarring alopecia treatment can vary slightly, with the exception of topical or injected steroids, which are typically the first recommended treatment for all types of scarring alopecia.

So is PRP Therapy a treatment option for scarring alopecia?  It is important to remember that the case study in the July 2019 journal of Dermatologic Surgery included only two patients, but below describes the patients and their outcomes:

Patient 1 Patient 2
Age 53 70
Gender Female Female
Race African – American Caucasian
Hair Loss History Decreased density along the scalp vertex since her mid-40s. Several years of gradual hair loss diffusely across the scalp. Diminished hair density along frontal hairline and scalp vertex.
Diagnosis Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) with mild component of Androgenic Alopecia Lichen Planopilaris (LPP)
Other Treatments Spironolactone, steroids (topical and injections), topical minoxidil.  All were considered ineffective and were stopped prior to PRP Therapy. Steroid (topical and injections), hydroxychloroquine 400mg daily. Did not lead to improvement, but continued topical and hydroxychloroquine during PRP Treatment.
Outcome Normal follicular density was noted along temporal hair line and greater than 50% improvement in hair density along scalp vertex. Normal density was noted diffusely across scalp and hairline.

This case study shows that there is a place for the use of PRP Therapy in the treatment of some scarring alopecias.  At Medi Tresse we have had success in utilizing PRP as a treatment for some patients with scarring alopecia, especially when there is a component of androgenic alopecia as well.  While more research needs to continue, this case study is great news for patients with scarring that have not had success with traditional treatments, like steroids, as it gives them another potential option.  If you think you could benefit from Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

Am I Getting The Best Possible Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy has become a popular treatment for many different medical problems.  In the last 10 years I have seen Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy used for osteoarthritis of the knees, soft tissue injuries, collagen growth in cosmetic procedures, bone growth in dental procedures, hair regrowth and other regenerative procedures.  Intense research has been ongoing for over a decade in this country and abroad.  However, after reviewing literally hundreds of research articles, what has become obvious to me is that not all Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is the same.

The process of performing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is actually very simple. A sample of blood is removed from the arm, just like any blood test.   The tube of blood is then spun in a centrifuge and the blood separates in different layers, one of which contains the platelet blood cells, around which are many different types of growth factors.  When this layer is then injected into the area to be treated, these growth factors stimulate new cell growth.

So what makes Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy treatments different?  Why aren’t they all the same?  There are so many variables, which can interfere with the final outcome and prevent new cell growth.  For instance, there are many different brands of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy kits, all of which have different abilities to obtain the correct number of platelets needed for cell growth.  There are also many different treatment protocols; in other words, how many treatments are needed and how often?  The training and experience of the medical professionals performing the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is extremely variable. So how do you know if you are getting the best possible Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy  treatment?  Honestly, it can be very difficult for consumers to know.

At Medi Tresse, because we are a medical practice and not just a med-spa, we utilize the most effective methods of performing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for hair regrowth.  We are staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses who have done the research and attend annual conferences on hair loss to collaborate with other industry leaders to make sure that we are following best industry practices.  Our staff has completed over 1800 Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy procedures, resulting in more than an 85% success rate.  We monitor treatment carefully with follow-up exams and photos to document progress. We are constantly reviewing and updating our treatment plans for all our patients.

Hair loss in women can be an emotional problem and difficult to treat properly.  At Medi Tresse, we treat all our patients with the best medical care available, with compassion and respect.

Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

Hear From A Patient - Laura D. Shares Her Experience

Unfortunately, as a society we have decided that female hair loss is a taboo topic that is rarely discussed.  In reality, hair loss will affect up to 50% of women in their lifetime, but since we do not have honest discussions about it, many women feel forced to suffer in silence.  Today we are thankful to have a patient that is willing to share her experience so that more women can feel empowered to speak about their hair loss and learn about the treatment options available to them.  Laura D. is 31 years old and has been experiencing telogen effluvium over the past few months due to being post-partum.  In the upcoming months she will occasionally write blogs for us to let us know how her journey is going.

Being a new mother has been more wonderful than I had ever dreamed.  That being said, I will be the first to admit that I didn’t love most of the parts of being pregnant.  I am someone who likes to be in control of my own body, and it was challenging watching my body change in ways that were completely out of my control.  Despite having what most would consider a “fit pregnancy” where I continued running, doing yoga, and swimming up until delivery, I gained 50 lbs with my daughter!  Yet along with the less desirable body changes that included swollen ankles, a baseline waddle, and constant kicking of my ribs, I will say that my hair was more thick and vibrant than it had ever been. There were at least  some perks of being pregnant for sure! 

Now that my daughter is four months old, I feel as though I have finally gotten into a routine of daily life with a baby, and for the most part have my body back again.  Let me tell you what a victory it was to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans!  I finally feel like myself again and would be feeling very happy about my post-partum body if it wasn’t for one thing, my hair.  The one thing that I wasn’t expecting was how much hair I would start losing, and how drastic the change in my hairline would become.  At about 3 months post-partum, I started shedding hair excessively.  My shower drain would be clogged with a fistful of hair each time I washed my hair, and it became near impossible to keep up with vacuuming the rooms in our house where my hair seemed to collect in every corner.  I now dread washing my hair or even brushing my hair, because every time I do so my hair falls out in handfuls.  Although there is definitely overall thinning, I am thankful that I had very thick hair to begin with, so a thinner ponytail isn’t the worst thing.  However, what really bothers me is that I have significant hair loss along my temples and across the front of my hairline.   Instead of thick dark hair, there are patches where my hair is now so thin you can easily see through to my scalp.  I’ve started parting my hair differently and styling it differently to try to cover up these balding spots near my temples.  

It’s extremely frustrating how self-conscious I am about my hair loss, because I feel like this should be a time where I am so proud of all that my body has done for me in the past year.  It’s crazy to think that over this year my body has carried a tiny human from conception to birth, and now has been nourishing this tiny little human and allowing her to grow and thrive in this world.  I should feel empowered that this body has done all of that so well, yet I find myself focusing the negatives of my thinning hair when I look in the mirror and not the other beautiful parts of my body both outside and in.  

In March I decided to speak to the medical staff at Medi Tresse to try and figure out what was going on with my hair.  While it was not easy to talk about, my interactions with both Diana and Rosie have been beyond wonderful.  They are both such caring, compassionate, and dedicated practitioners.  They have assured me that I’m not alone in my post-partum hair loss, and they’ve helped me create a treatment plan that will fit into my life as a new mom.  They explained that I was experiencing telogen effluvium due to being post-partum.  After discussing my options, I decided to pursue treatment with a laser cap to hopefully slow down the shedding and reverse the hair loss. I am really excited to get started with treatments and see if I can regain some hair (and some confidence!) in these upcoming months.   I can’t wait to share this journey with you all and I am so thankful that Medi Tresse is here to help me! 

Note from Diana Gallerani, NP: Laura is experiencing telogen effluvium, which is a temporary hair loss typically caused by a stressor on the body.  For most patients, telogen effluvium is reversible and all loss should regrow, however, it is important to start treatment early to help mitigate the shedding and reverse the telogen effluvium.  Post-partum hair loss is extremely common, as during pregnancy most women experience less shedding and will see thicker hair as a result.  After the pregnancy women will shed hair and go back to their pre-pregnancy baseline.  Unfortunately, in some cases, and in the case of Laura, we do see some patients shed more hair than they started with before their pregnancy and actually see thinning throughout the scalp.  With telogen effluvium, it is important to be aggressive with the treatment and we typically recommend a multi-therapy approach of Low Level Laser Therapy, Formula 82M, and Viviscal.  However, since Laura is breastfeeding we do not recommend the Formula 82M or Viviscal, so we have started her on a laser cap.  Laura is currently not a candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy as she is in an active shed, but once we stop the shedding she could try PRP, which will likely give her faster results than just waiting for her hair to grow back on its own.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Questions to Ask Before Doing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

As Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy has gained in popularity as a hair restoration treatment, there has been an increase in medical practices that now offer it.  We are big supporters of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for hair restoration, so we are excited to see its popularity grow.  That being said, as more non-hair loss specialists start offering Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, it is important for patients to make sure that they are being treated by experienced staff. Regardless of where you decide to get Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, here are some important questions to ask the provider before starting your treatment.

Do you have experience treating female hair loss?

For most women, the cause of hair loss is due to genetics.  However, there is a large subset of women that are experiencing hair loss due to other factors, including, but not limited to: thyroid issues, medications, stress, hormonal imbalance, or issues with their diet.  To effectively treat female hair loss with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, it is necessary to be able to understand the underlying cause of the hair loss.

How did you determine my type of hair loss and is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy an effective treatment for this type of hair loss?

While Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a great treatment, it is not a great treatment for all types of hair loss.  For patients experiencing Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Alopecia Areata, or Traction Alopecia, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy can be a great treatment option.  However, if you have a different type of hair loss like Scarring Alopecia or Telogen Effluvium, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is not the right choice.  It is important to make sure the practitioner has determined that Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy will be effective for your type of hair loss.

Could any of my medications inhibit the effectiveness of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

With Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, we are actually trying to cause an inflammatory response in the scalp to tell the body to begin healing and rejuvenate the follicles.  However, if you are taking an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or a corticosteroid, it could prevent you from getting the best response possible.

Are there other treatments I should do in conjunction with my Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a great treatment for female hair loss, but it is not the only treatment.  If you are experiencing hair loss, it is often best to do multiple treatments as they work in different ways and can get you the best results.  Other treatments like Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), Formula 82 (minoxidil), and Viviscal, can be great options to use in conjunction with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and potentially get you even better results.

These are just some examples of important questions to ask your practitioner before starting treatment.  If you think Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy may be right for you, we always recommend speaking to a hair loss specialist that can determine the best treatment plan to treat your specific hair loss.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

How Often Should I See My Hair Loss Specialist?

Your follow up visits provide an opportunity to track your results, update your hair loss specialist on any changes in diet or medications, and to potentially change the treatment plan if necessary.  So how often should you see your hair loss specialist? Just like visiting your dentist (although hopefully less painful!), at Medi Tresse we recommend follow up visits every six months.

Tracking your results is extremely important, and any hair loss specialist should be taking photos and doing trichoscopy (which is highly magnified photos where you measure the hair) to track your progress.  As you see your hair every day, it is often difficult to notice changes, but in your follow ups you will easily be able to track your progress throughout treatment.

The follow up is an important time to update your hair loss specialist of any major changes in your diet or medications.  A major diet change, like becoming a vegetarian, could affect your hair loss if you are not receiving enough vitamins and nutrients.  Some medications have been found to induce hair loss, and your hair loss specialist can help guide you through if the medication could be problematic to your hair.

For most patients, hair loss is progressive, which means that it will continue to get worse if not treated correctly.  By seeing your hair loss specialist every six months, you can ensure that if you need to make changes to your treatment plan, it is done in timely fashion.  The earlier hair loss is treated, the better chance there is for re-thickening and re-growth during treatment.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

The Benefit of Treating Female Hair Loss in Multiple Ways

benifits2aAt Medi Tresse Boston we offer a wide array of treatments for hair loss that treat the follicle in different ways.  From Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy to Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to Formula 82M, each of these treatments offer different benefits to help stimulate hair health and even regrow hair.  What is great about all of these treatment options is that on their own they are great options for our patients.

However, with many patients we often recommend the use of more than one type of treatment as we feel they can get even better results by utilizing the combined effects of both treatments. The first question we often receive is, “If I only do one type of treatment does that mean I will not see improvement in my hair?”  The answer to this question is no, as all of the treatments that we offer are clinically proven to improve hair health and in some cases stimulate regrowth when used on their own.  We often liken this approach to the approach used in weight loss.  It is possible to lose weight through dieting and it is possible to lose weight through exercise, however, when you combine both diet and exercise your approach is more effective, and you often see results more quickly.  Treating hair loss is really no different.

One of our favorite combinations of hair loss treatments is PRP and LLLT.  Both PRP and LLLT are great treatment options on their own; but since they treat the follicle in different ways, when combined we can see really excellent results.  PRP is great, because hair follicles survive on the nutrition they get from their blood supply, and that nutrition comes in the form of platelet activated growth factors. Platelets also tell the body to rejuvenate and repair. By delivering the platelets (via plasma) directly to the cells around the follicle, the growth factors become activated and essentially breathe new life into weak or dying follicles.  Alternatively, LLLT stimulates cellular metabolism at the molecular level of the hair follicle, thereby enhancing the quality of the hair produced from the hair follicle, and reversing miniaturization seen in female hair loss.  We feel that by combining PRP and LLLT, the patient is providing treatment to the follicle in multiple ways, which can make treatment even more effective.

If you're further curious about PRP hair loss therapy or LLLT hair loss treatments - as well as any of our treatment options - feel free to get in touch with our hair regrowth specialists. Medi Tresse is proud to provide hair regrowth options for women throughout Boston and Wellesley.

Posted by Rosie Scano, RN

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy A Treatment Option for Alopecia Areata

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Although Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) was originally studied with the intent to treat Androgenic Alopecia, or Female and Male Pattern Hair loss, the research just keeps getting better and better!  There have been several very exciting studies showing that PRP is also useful to treat other kinds of Alopecia conditions, one of which is Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is considered to be an autoimmune reaction in the body that results in patchy loss of hair, typically on the head. At any time in life, most commonly starting in adulthood, a person with Alopecia Areata may start to see small circular areas of hair loss emerge. There may only be one area or several, but typically the area starts small and can become quite large in diameter.  In most cases, this is temporary and hair will begin to regrow and fill in. Unfortunately, the event typically re-occurs, and the person experiences the loss all over again, often in different areas then before.  It is also possible that hair will never grow back.

Up until recently, this type of hair loss was treated solely with steroids – both through injections into the area of loss in addition to topical creams.  Unfortunately, this still is not a cure and strong steroids are needed to illicit a positive response. Using these steroids long-term is never a favorable choice. Long-term use of steroids in the scalp can lead to thinning and weakening of the skin, as well as rebound irritation or skin reactions. Furthermore, because of the nature of the condition, most patients have to return multiple times a year to get more treatments.

Fortunately, with new advances in research involving PRP, we can now confidently offer PRP as a treatment alternative to steroids for Alopecia Areata!

This is similar to how we use PRP to treat Female Pattern Hair loss; by encouraging healing of injured follicle cells, we also use it to facilitate repair of cells affected by Alopecia Areata.  We recommend a series of 3 PRP treatments, however, in as little as a single treatment we can already see hair regrowth over the area(s) of loss much quicker than we would if steroids were used, without the long-term negative side effects! It is also thought that because this is a healing procedure, that PRP treatments can aid in decreasing the chances or number of re-occurrences of Alopecia Areata. It’s a win-win!!

Please, feel free to get in touch with us today to learn more about PRP and Alopecia Areata, or to schedule an appointment!

Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C