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Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) To Treat Hair Loss

We recently published a piece on treating thinning eyebrows and eyelashes. In my exploration of the topic I also wanted to address female and male pattern baldness. I turned to Dr. Mitchell A. Kline, a board-certified clinical dermatologist with a private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He specializes in melanoma surgery and staging and non-invasive melanoma detection including total body dermoscopy and DermSpectra full body digital imaging. While Dr. Kline is considered the go-to doctor in New York for skin cancer concerns, his practice also offers a broad array of creative anti-aging and cosmetic treatments including lasers, injectables, fillers, photo-facials and chemical peels.

He is also one of the few doctors in New York that offers Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP facials, otherwise known as the Vampire Facial, as well as PRP for hair regeneration. Dr. Kline is a true innovator and leader in the field of dermatology. When I learned that he successfully grew himself a virtually full head of hair using PRP, I had to learn more. I sat down with Dr. Kline to gain a better understanding of the treatment.

What’s all the buzz about Platelet Rich Plasma?

MK: It seems like every week there’s a new breakthrough cosmetic treatment boasting remarkable rejuvenation and anti-aging benefits. They come; they go. Many amount to more hype than help, with a hefty price tag and minimal patient benefit. So when a treatment like platelet rich plasma (PRP) generates buzz, and sticks around, the dermatological community pays attention, especially when that treatment is rooted in historical medicine. With PRP, we’re witnessing a renaissance in a technique that was officially developed 30 years ago to assist in the recovery of orthopedic and nerve injuries. Now it has gained traction for use in facial rejuvenation and, most relevant to my practice, hair growth treatment that can work for both men and women.

What is PRP and how does it work?

MK: When a new patient comes in for PRP treatment her blood is drawn just like during a blood test and then placed in a centrifuge that is spun, sometimes twice, to concentrate the plasma with rich blood-clotting particles called platelets. The result is what we call platelet rich plasma or PRP. Though this can all sound a little Frankensteinish on the face of it, the procedure is all natural. Everything involved in a ‘traditional’ PRP treatment belongs to the individual patient without the addition of synthetic chemicals or actives. Blood is simply being concentrated through the precise and rapid spinning process. While some practices and physicians add stem cells and other natural hormones to the PRP mixture as part of treatment, this is done predominantly outside of the USA.

How does this come into play with hair loss treatments?

MK: Unlike the popular vampire facial, that involves microneedling the PRP into the face, PRP for hair loss involves injecting the PRP into the scalp through a series of sterile injections. There is no pain, wounding or visible evidence that anything has been done to the treatment area.

Are there any side effects?

MK: Bruising is rare even for those patients on blood thinners. This is likely due to the clotting action of the platelets in the blood. Some mild warmth can be expected in the hours after the procedure but that’s about it.

How does it work?

MK: While the science is still catching up to the procedure, what is clear is that the growth factors present in the highly concentrated platelet and plasma mixture (which is effective at healing and anti-inflammatory support) helps to stimulate hair growth by converting resting hair follicles into an active state.

What results have you seen to date?

Platelet Rich Plasma To Treat Hair LossMK: Before introducing a treatment into the practice I always try it on myself first. 18 months ago I had a large, smooth balding area and decided to try PRP therapy without topical or oral therapy. When I reached the third month I was growing substantial amounts of fuzz over my previously smooth, bare bald spot. At that point I began the daily process of using enhanced minoxidil topical hair treatment daily in conjunction with PRP. After three more months I was stunning my patients, some of whom were calling me Benjamin Button. My before and after pictures reinforced what I knew, I was re-growing hair! While major studies on PRP remain small and results still can vary widely, our practice has seen great, even transformative, results with PRP treatment. We’ve seen results for both male and female pattern hair loss.

Who is a good candidate for this treatment?

MK: The range of patients who can benefit from treatment is vast. There can be great results when PRP is used in conjunction with hair transplant treatment or even for some patients who are suffering from mild to severe hair loss and for whom hair transplant surgery is not an option. It’s also never too late to get started. Our oldest PRP patient is 86 years old and thrilled with her results!

What other treatments work well with PRP for hair loss?

MK: After seeing success with PRP alone, our practice has started to combine PRP treatment with the FDA approved oral finasteride (Propecia) for those men and women willing to take it orally. We also prescribe a topical minoxidil in a proprietary blend to help boost results. Retinoids and topical male hormone blockers can work well too. In addition, we are working to further improve consistent and even more stunning results.

What scientific advancements are in store for PRP down the road?

MK: While the current PRP treatment process is quick, safe and extremely simple for patients, we are always striving to use equally safe topical additives that will act with synergy to improve PRP for frontal as well as vertex (top of the head) androgenetic alopecia. Other types of alopecia as well as stem cell treatments are in collaborative trials outside of the USA in several countries. We look forward to seeing what results are possible with these innovations. There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time for patient care and innovative hair loss treatment!

For more information on Dr. Kline, please visit Kline Dermatology’s website.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter: @AlyssaBarrie

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Interview With Dermatologist Dr. Mitchell A. Kline

Dr. Mitchell A. Kline is a New York board-certified clinical dermatologist. His ongoing focuses include melanoma, neurophysiology and HIV/AIDS, and he has done significant research on non-invasive melanoma detection techniques, particularly reflectance confocal microscopy, which he uses at his office.

Dr. Kline specializes in melanoma treatment and staging, total body dermoscopy, and DermaSpectra total body digital imaging. While Dr. Kline is considered a go-to doctor in New York City for skin cancer concerns, his office also offers an array of cosmetic treatments including injectables, fillers, photo-facials, and chemical peels. He is one of the few doctors in New York to offer PRP facials (Vampire Facials), as well as PRP for hair regeneration.

Dr. Kline studied at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, training in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Hospital following his graduation. He participated in research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pediatric Neurosurgery and Neurophysiology, receiving a Young Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health. Subsequent training in Dermatology was completed at Cornell, Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He was Chief Resident in Dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering/Cornell University from 1989-1990. He is also on the Clinical Board of Melanoma Research Alliance and honorary of the year by Melanoma Research Foundation.

His work and research have been the subject of stories on CBS, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and featured on the HBO documentary “Cancer: Urgency to Emergency.” We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Kline about his work.

You Are Well-known For Your Expertise In The Field of Skin Cancer. Was Skin Cancer Detection and Treatment Your Original Focus?

MK: Paths are complicated. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that melanoma detection requires a melding of mathematics, physics of optics and light, an understanding of visual perception, as in art, and an appreciation for humanistic parts of caring for people.

What Is Something You Wish Every Woman Knew About Melanoma and Melanoma Prevention?

MK: That putting sunscreen on face, ears, scalp and hands as a daily habit after showering will make an enormous difference in skin quality and cancer risk. The habit will continue for beach and the great exposures of daily use.

You Are One of the Few Physicians in New York to Offer the “Vampire Facial”. What Happens During this Treatment and What Are Results?

MK: The use of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy or PRP, on both hair growth and the effects on facial collagen are well known as variable but often superb for decades to orthopedists who treat athletes and injuries. The vampire facial utilizes the same simple technique whereby platelet-rich plasma is separated from the other components of the patient’s blood and then injected into the skin or scalp. Over 5 successive treatments and in combination with topical agents of proven value can result in collagen and hyaluronidase acid stimulation, texture improvement and reduction of wrinkles. There is typically no or little down time and minimal discomfort.

If Women Want to Start Preventative Cosmetic Treatments in Their Early 30s, or Earlier, What Are the Best Treatments to Start With?

MK: Of course, moisturize photoprotectants and retinol, retinoids and antioxidants dramatically prevent signs of aging and damage that causes skin cancer.

Depending upon the ways in which they use their muscles of facial expression to form creases, have genetic propensity for aging, brown spots or wrinkles, we would tailor such treatments. Treatments can range from specific topical antioxidant creams and gels scientifically backed with known benefits over years, light IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) to remove veins, red areas and brown spots, to delicate Botox and fillers that block progression of future lines without creating any change at in the beautiful natural contours and shapes of the face.

Underappreciated is the benefit of rest, diet and supplements that truly affect the way the skin ages and damages. The science is astounding and soon will become part of prevention rather than treating problems that develop.

Any New and Exciting Developments and Products on the Horizon for 2016-2017?

MK: A giant step is the development of a cream that will dissolve brown spots known as keratoses. It is the most common thing we see on people’s skins at every age especially later.

Huge changes are at hand with radio frequency tools, topical anti-aging agents, some that will not require any needles or invasive treatments.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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