PRF Hair Restoration: Everything You Need To Know
The cutting edge of hair restoration medicine always has something interesting to offer. In the past decade, we’ve been introduced to new techniques and treatments that help restore hair with greater speed, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness.
But not every treatment is worth the hype. Now, we see the introduction of yet another supposed advancement, this time in the form of platelet-rich fibrin or PRF, for hair restoration. Is PRF a step up or another flash-in-the-pan fad?
Let’s find out what PRF is all about, if it makes good on its hair restoration promises, and if you should consider adding it to your hair preservation and regrowth strategy.
What Is PRF?
Since PRP has only just made its way to the mainstream, even fewer people are likely to know about its more advanced sibling, PRF. Here are the basics of PRF, how it compares to PRP, and the common applications used today.
PRF Definition and Background
Once again, PRF stands for platelet-rich fibrin, a highly concentrated mixture that’s said to containof powerful cells and growth factors with restorative healing potential, PRF has only been in the public eye for a few years, but the rumors keep circulating. Does this treatment have the potential to help various body systems look, feel, and operate at a higher level?
Mainline research papers show that PRP entered the medical conversation in the 1980s, while PRF first appeared in the early 2000s. But more recently, PRF has been made more accessible and affordable, with technological improvements and more supporting research.
As a biological product, PRF must be obtained by first extracting an amount of the patient’s blood, which naturally contains the desired components. The sample is then spun in a specialized centrifuge, the process by which key cells and cytokines are isolated and extracted.
How Does PRF Compare to PRP?
Some marketers are calling PRF “The Ultimate Blood Concentrate” — because it supposedly picks up and goes beyond where PRP left off. We aren’t buying it.
Since blood is the same at the point of origin, how can PRF make such a big improvement upon the foundations of PRP?
It’s helpful to view PRF and PRP as two separate techniques, rather than distinct substances, as this will showcase the differences between them and give us a clear view of their purpose.
Here are the most notable ways in which PRF differs from PRP and why they matter for your hair restoration results.
- PRF is attained through low-speed centrifuge spinning, while PRP requires a high spin rate, nearly six times the speed. Lower speeds result in thicker, more potent material.
- Additives like anticoagulants or gelling are required to stabilize PRP and make it safe for the body to accept. PRF must be used fast, or it can lose potency
- PRP has received more attention in terms of clinical studies and research to show its potential benefits in hair restoration, unlike PRP which lacks science-backed effectiveness
- The cost of PRP can be significantly less, making PRP a more affordable option.
Overall, PRP has science to back its effectiveness. Knowledgeable surgeons in the hair restoration field understand the advantages of PRP. These professionals, like Dr. Jae Pak, steer their clients toward the proven paths of hair restoration like PRP instead of the latest fad.
Applications of PRF
There are a few different applications for PRF outside of its unproven methods of hair restoration. Administration methods will vary based on the patient and clinic.
PRF is delivered by injection to injured tissue, tendons, or other body parts to improve and accelerate the healing process. For top athletes, PRF can mean the difference between more time on the field vs. on the bench.
As PRF becomes more prevalent, clinical applications in dentistry cosmetics are increasingly popular. Healing is only a piece of the puzzle, as PRF can also help support bone health in dentistry, help reduce the appearance of the signs of aging, and in oral surgery.
Surgical procedures like grafting, implantations, transplantations, and reconstruction can all potentially benefit from well-placed PRF injections. Some people believe there are noticeable effects on the healing rate, bleeding, and a reduced risk of infection after PRF injections.
PRF for Hair Restoration
There is a lot to love about PRF’s versatile medical benefits, but what can it specifically do for hair restoration? Hair loss experts are always searching for the next great treatment to help patients restore and maintain hair. Is PRF a new answer to the hair restoration question?
Here is the real deal on PRF, plus practical considerations and risks to watch out for.
Benefits and Results
Loaded with leukocytes, fibrin, and other rich cellular materials, PRF is a potentially powerful substance for dentistry and skin care. These materials could assist in supporting the circulatory system and potentially fight harmful compounds.
But the science just isn’t there to support the grandiose hair restoration claims.
PRF is a natural, autologous treatment (coming from one’s own body), but it isn’t a safe treatment for everyone.
While PRF is minimally invasive and requires fewer sessions to achieve potential skincare results or to help athletes ease muscle soreness, it may not be the best fit for someone on blood thinners, anyone with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or for heavy smokers.
For a hair loss patient in need of a new approach, stick to tried and true hair restoration procedures. Meet with a hair loss professional like Jae Pak, M.D., for advice on the best next steps for you.
Costs and Considerations
Depending on factors like location, clinic reputation, and scope of the procedure, PRF treatments can range in cost from $500 to $2000. Typically, clinics will offer a package of three sessions for a price in this range, then offer a fourth at a steep discount. Sessions will usually take place in a span of four to six weeks.
It’s also little more than a fad at this point. The scientific research doesn’t support PRF hair restoration claims. Anyone experiencing hair loss and who has already visited a dermatologist to determine that the cause isn’t related to genetics can then look for hair restoration help.
Look for personalized service, better facilities, more experienced technicians and surgeons well-versed in best practices and modern techniques, and other quality-of-life features that you’d expect from experienced hair restoration surgeons and clinics. If a clinic is spouting the wonders of an unproven method like PRF as the answer to hair loss, you may want to move along.
A PRF client should also work closely with doctors and clinical staff to ensure that treatments are spaced properly, and additional measures are taken between sessions.
Finally, be aware of how clinics expect payment and if you can cover any of that sum with insurance. Since PRF for hair loss is mainly a cosmetic procedure, this is an unlikely scenario but worth a try.
PRF is safe for many adults, but not all. Clients with cancer, liver disease, metabolic disorders, and other systemic problems may want to avoid PRF until their conditions clear up. Those with existing medical conditions should get the “all-clear” from their doctor before seeking out this trendy yet unfounded treatment.
In fact, PRF carries other risks other than the potential disappointment of spending a lot of money on a procedure that doesn’t work for hair loss.
PRF carries some minor risks. These risks include infection, scar tissue formation at the site of injection, and injury to blood vessels or nerves in the target area.
These risks can be minimized with better technology, skilled physicians, and other factors. This reinforces the importance of finding a clinic and surgeon you trust to perform your hair restoration procedure. Consider what a hair restoration clinic is offering in a treatment package and whether the services they provide are grounded in fact to help you figure out your next best move.
What To Get For Hair Loss
Ready to add PRF to your hair restoration regimen or at least consult with a doctor about your options? Here is what you should do next.
Find a Trusted Clinic
Because PRF clinics are still on the rise, you may not find one in your area if you live in a smaller city or town. Traveling for PRF is not unheard of, although the frequency of sessions makes it somewhat inconvenient and can ramp up your costs.
It’s worth the extra effort, however, as the best PRF clinics are better suited to meet your unique needs and provide top-tier service with better safety protocols and a good outcome.
Combine PRF With Other Treatments
To make the most of PRF, hair loss experts suggest combining it with other proven treatments and medications like oral finasteride.
Work alongside a leader in the hair restoration field like Jae Pak M.D., and discover the best treatment plan. You can then find out if that plan includes PRF or if there is another scientifically-backed recommendation.
If you are considering a procedure like a hair transplant, now may be the time to explore those options with an experienced surgeon and see what can best help you meet your goals.
Get the Most From PRP
Unlike PRF, PRP has a large body of evidence pointing toward its effectiveness in hair restoration. PRP isn’t an instant process. Although it can take several sessions, PRP isn’t a trendy fad. With the low risk and the potential for life-changing results, PRP could be your next best move for hair restoration. See what PRP offerings are available near you and get moving in the right direction. In the meantime, connect with a leader in the field like Jae Pak M.D. to get your complete hair restoration plan in place to help bring you closer to your hair goal.
Platelet Rich Fibrin | Wily Online Library
Evolution and Advancement in Platelet Concentrate | NIH
Find out if Hair Restoration is right for you.
Speak with Jae Pak, M.D. today!