Commentary on The Effect of Plasma Rich in Growth Factors on Pattern Hair Loss

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Anitua and colleagues1 in the their well-designed study entitled “The effects of plasma rich growth factors on pattern hair loss: a pilot study” contribute valuable much needed data toward better defining the role of plasma-rich growth factors (PRGF) in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss. Through phototrichograms and histology, they demonstrate increased mean density, diameter, and increased terminal to vellus hair ratios of follicles in treated patients. This was reflected clinically by high patient satisfaction with the results of their treatment. As with previous studies, histology reveals increased perifollicular angiogenesis and decreased perivascular infiltrate.2
Plasma-rich growth factor has become a widely used therapy for male and female pattern hair loss. In addition, in dermatology, it has been used to treat alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, wound healing, and for facial rejuvenation.3 There is enough published data and peer-reviewed data presented at meetings to conclude that PRGF does positively affect the growth of hair follicles. One study concluded a subjective benefit in hair growth from patients, but objective data collected by investigators failed to confirm any benefit.4
The authors do not know the percentage of patients PRGF will benefit and for how long. There are a myriad of different treatment protocols being used globally adding to further confusion.
Only through better designed, longer-term studies will the authors be better able to answer—who is a candidate and who is not a candidate, how often should treatments be performed for optimal results, how often will maintenance treatments be needed, how much volume of PRGF needs to be injected per treatment and what are the short- or long-term side effects.
In addition, future studies need to address whether or not PRGF provides synergy to finasteride, minoxidil, or low-level light therapy. Is PRGF as effective as finasteride or minoxidil as a monotherapy or as part of dual therapy?
Some hair transplant surgeons are reporting quicker and better growth of transplanted grafts treated with PRGF.
Plasma-rich growth factor is an exciting new treatment for hair loss. There is enough published data and peer reports of efficacy to conclude that PRGF can benefit at least some patients.
Anitua and colleagues should be congratulated on contributing more important information to better defining the role of PRGF in the treatment of hair loss for the patients.
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