Over a year ago I started incorporating the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP) and Acell into my hair transplant cases, at first tentatively and now in a robust and standard fashion. I believe this is why it is so important to go to every major hair transplant meeting you can because it can change your practice in profound ways. I believe that this adjunct to my business has been the most important one in the last decade of practicing hair restoration.
Platelet rich plasma, as the name would imply, is your blood taken from you before you start the procedure spun down to just extract the plasma (liquid portion) and filled with platelets (what carries the growth factors) minus the red and white blood cells (which are pro-inflammatory and which diminish and counteract the growth factors). PRP has shown a profound ability to improve the growth of transplanted hair follicles, acting as a fertilizer if you will for these follicles. In addition, some physicians add Acell, which is also known as Matristem porcine (pig) bladder basement membrane and which comes in two forms, powder (coarse and fine) and sheets. Acell is added to serve as a scaffold for the PRP to work better. Acell also may contribute in unique and powerful ways to help grafts grow more finely and to limit scarring both in the donor area and in the transplanted frontal region as well. I truly believe the two work in a synergistic fashion.
What I have seen is much faster growth on the order now of about 4 months compared with 6 months as the start of significant (but obviously not final or mature) growth after a hair transplant. I also see, as mentioned, finer hair growth, and improved appearance and uniformity of the hair growth. However, I have not necessarily seen less of a recovery time, that should still be about a week. I have begun to inject it in areas of early balding (not moderate or advanced balding) or for the very young individual who is losing his hair and may not be a safe candidate for hair transplant and seen some very nice changes in preserving and regrowing hair. In patients in whom I did a prior hair transplant without PRP/Acell and then with it I have seen a tremendous improvement in the quality and quantity of the results. In short, I cannot imagine a time when I will not be using it with my hair transplant procedures. Here is a short video in which I was featured in the news regarding my use of this “miracle-gro” fertilizer.