It has taken an entire year to get a new Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) service set up. Part of that is dealing with all the clinical governance and safety requirements that a private hospital expects, part of it is the procurement of equipment and then lastly the staff employment and training. I am delighted to let you know that we are now ready to start taking bookings, but what is PRP, what is it used for and who will benefit?

Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and then the liquid they all bathe in called plasma. Cells are different sizes and through a centrifugation process can be separated into the different components. The preparation of PRP varies widely, ranging from single spin systems (cheap and easy to use) that use a gel to separate red and white blood cells from platelets and plasma and more sophisticated (and complicated) double spin processes.

The latter can produce higher volumes and much more concentrated platelets. The platelet rich part is the bit with all the goodies with various growth factors that can stimulate hair growth.

A recent review has highlighted the superiority of double spin and concentrated platelet systems in hair growth. We are using the Emcyte double spin system that requires 54mls of blood to generate 7mls of highly concentrated and pure PRP. This is a market leader in generation of concentrated pure PRP.

Once PRP is prepared it is then injected into the area of hair thinning. The most evidence for PRP in hair disorders is in genetic male and female pattern hair loss. It is being increasingly used in other aspects of regenerative medicine and is being used in scarring hair loss conditions like Lichen Planopilaris and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia. The growth factors should theoretically help restore a disturbance of the hair cycle, such as Telogen Effluvium and there are reports of improvement with Alopecia Areata too. PRP is an adjunctive treatment. It is usually used alongside other treatment modalities, eg minoxidil or Finasteride.

Over the course of the year I have had time to look at the protocol and tweak various bits. The PRP service is being delivered by my physician associate, Miss Saeeda Moradi, who has worked with me in the NHS for the past two years. We are going to be using a mesotherapy gun device rather than ordinary syringe and needle as this is virtually painless for delivery of the PRP and doesn’t require any additional local anaesthetic, which can be painful in it’s own right. In addition to the micropapular mode (individual tiny injections), a nappage mode (rapid fire injections) can also be used which delivers a micro needling effect whilst delivering the PRP.

As this preparation of PRP is much more concentrated we will be injecting less frequently with one treatment at baseline and then a repeat at 3 months. Gel systems by comparison require monthly injections. We will be using a baseline density assessment using Tricholab and repeating at 6 months prior to making a decision on whether this is beneficial or not. Thereafter the frequency of injections can decrease to every 6-12 months.

The cost per treatment is £700 including the density assessments, clinical photography using the new Hair studio and treatment with both the micropapular and nappage modes. This is very competitively priced when you factor in the quality, concentration and volume of PRP generated and the need to repeat treatment less frequently.