By Dr. Amiya Prasad
Are there any differences between PRP and ACell treatments for hair loss?
PRP and ACell injection treatments, when performed effectively, can significantly increase hair density and coverage in men and women who suffer from genetic pattern hair loss.
PRP and ACell treatment are often sought out by people who’ve undergone several treatments with PRP or platelet-rich plasma alone, without significant benefit after many sessions.
Oftentimes there are improvements seen in hair growth after PRP injection, but the growth is typically not sustained beyond the short term.
In addition a lot of people are looking for an alternative to surgical hair transplantation as well as ways to improve their results after recently having hair transplant surgery.
With PRP and ACell the key ingredients are spelled out in a generic name and there is often an assumption that the formulation execution results of PRP and ACell treatment are the same between doctors. In reality results formulations and treatment protocols are not universal.
I’ll discuss how PRP and a cell treatments differ amongst doctors and how you can decide which treatment is best suited for your hair loss condition.
I’m Dr. Amiya Prasad. I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I’ve been in practice in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years.
I’m actually one of the original pioneers of PRP and ACell treatment.
This began when I first used extracellular matrix or ECM by ACell to improve healing when I performed hair transplant surgery.
The word ACell is actually the name of the company that produces the material called extracellular matrix or ECM.
Extracellular matrix or ECM is an advanced wound healing material derived from pig bladder.
Although this is stem cell technology, this material is not made up of stem cells. The extracellular matrix material actually stimulates your body’s own adult stem cells to behave in ways which significantly improves wound healing.
I became more experienced with this material and its behavior by using it for incisions when I performed facelift surgery and other cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures.
I observed when using this material for hair transplant surgery that not only did the hair grafts heal better but the native thinning hair unexpectedly became thicker. The hair thickening effect was observed over one year after surgery.
I was inspired by this observation to work on developing optimal concentrations of ACell with PRP in addition to delivery methods to potentially create a standalone procedure to help men and women with genetic pattern hair loss without surgery.
Since there was no prior knowledge in this area, I spent years developing and refining the process for maximal effectiveness with consistent results and very importantly to achieve the most benefit for the longest period of duration, which requires the fewest number of treatments.
ACell PRP Before & After Results
In spite of many years of skepticism and frequent dismissal of the concept from many members of the dermatology, plastic surgery and hair restoration surgery community, the success of our treatment we call TrichoStem Hair Regeneration, as a standalone procedure since I started in 2011, could not be ignored and has become so well recognized that patients have been coming to us from around the world for male and female pattern hair loss treatment.
The improvement in scalp coverage we see is based on the reactivation of hair that is present but not growing as well as thickening of thinning hair.
Our success in changing the way hair loss is treated has resulted in the same doctors who are skeptics about PRP and ACell to now offer their own limited single formulation, which requires that their patients come in every month to every three months for scalp injections of PRP or PRP with ACell.
So if you are experiencing hair loss, how do you determine, first of all, if PRP or PRP with ACell is appropriate for you and if it is, which method will be most effective for you.
Since the time of initiating my work of PRP and ACell, I looked at specific characteristics in every patient I treated and look at how they responded to the treatment dosing and methods which I employed for them.
I examined every patient and performed microscopic and high-resolution digital photography every three to six months for the duration of five years or more.
Based on these observations I recognized the need to create individualized treatment plans.
For example, a young male with aggressive hair loss needs a treatment strategy which is different from a middle-aged woman with slow progressive hair thinning.
I see many people who are experiencing hair loss and had gotten treatment in a shotgun approach regardless of their age, gender or degree of hair loss.
Unfortunately this makes people being treated for hair loss to be frustrated and feel that this treatment category just doesn’t work.
In our practice we spend a lot of time looking at our patients. We look in depth at medical history as well as hormonal issues, medications and other variables to properly diagnose each patient before determining if he or she is a candidate for PRP and ACell or as we refer to our system TrichoStem Hair Regeneration.
I can attest from experience that one approach to hair loss treatment cannot be applied to every patient. After I assess a patient and diagnosed them with androgenetic alopecia or genetic pattern hair loss I provide them a treatment plan.
For example, if you’re a 40 year old male who began to lose hair in your early 30s and you have a moderate to advanced degree of hair loss, you might be a candidate for a two-year treatment plan during which you would receive two treatments separated by about 18 months.
The benefits of two treatments as well as other therapies would likely result in improvement which would be sustained for 3 to 5 years.
For most female pattern hair loss patients, we have also had comparable and often longer lasting results.
I can say that I’m very happy to see the continued growth and recognition of PRP and ACell as a treatment for hair loss.
However I must stress that hair loss is progressive and is managed not cured.
In so many ways I see parallels between the marketing of PRP as well as ACell by doctors with little to no prior hair loss treatment experience with hair loss management, such as having performed hair transplant surgery and the aggressive marketing of devices for skin tightening or fat reduction, which are being used for people who are not good candidates for these procedures.
I see this as a part of an overall trend which I refer to as cosmetic medical retailing. In cosmetic medical retailing, the practitioner is more of a sales person who is not interested in a long-term doctor-patient relationship.
My role as a doctor is to first diagnose, manage and advocate for the patient’s best interest. In cosmetic medical retailing, the patient is more of an opportunity for a one-off transaction with no concern from the fact in the long-term implications of any treatment they sell.
Even worse, it’s common for particularly unethical medical retail practices to steal before-and-after photos. We are constantly being informed about practices stealing our photos and misrepresenting these photos as their own.
I have found that many people who are trying PRP or ACell plus PRP in clinics where treatments are scheduled monthly or multiple times per year find themselves stopping after three to four treatments, which is understandable.
Having multiple injections in the scalp every month to every three months can become pretty irritating. More importantly the question is why do you need so many injection sessions.
If you think about it, the cost of these injections adds up over time and without any significant long-term benefit, these injection treatments become financially and logistically unsustainable, essentially set up for failure.
I can state from having many years of experience with ACell with PRP, starting in 2011, that a proper diagnosis with a customized treatment plan limited to no more than two treatment sessions provides an expected average duration of 3 to 5 years.
This appears to be at this time the most effective strategy which is the basis of our success with TrichoStem Hair Regeneration.
Since 2011 I’ve been helping men and women from around the world with genetic pattern hair loss improve their appearance.
TrichoStem Hair Regeneration is a system which involves the application of a range of individually customized formulations, delivery methods and treatment plans.
As a growing number of doctors start to offer PRP and ACell, the challenge is for patients to be able to make informed decisions about which strategy is suited for their needs.
I am open with my patients about my knowledge derived from my experience in developing our system. I’m clear with every patient about the reality that hair loss is genetically hardwired and progressive.
You should expect during a consultation for the doctor to answer your question directly and honestly. Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true nor should you get vague answers about what to expect after treatment.
In my practice I provide every patient with the treatment plan and a clear schedule of treatments needed to achieve improved scalp coverage for what is typically three to five years.
Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.