Embarrassed. Old. Unconfident. These are just a few ways losing your hair can make you feel.
If losing your hair wasn’t enough, knowing what option to take to restore it can be overwhelming. Hair transplants and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy are two of the most popular ways to grow back your hair, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.
Luckily, the hair restoration experts at Hair Doc, located in Cow Hollow, San Francisco, are here to help. Read on as we compare these two hair restoration methods so you can move forward with the best route.
Hair transplants — get fuller, thicker hair
You’ve probably heard of hair transplants if you’re in the market for getting full, thick hair again. Hair transplants have been around since the 1950s, but recent advancements provide better results.
Hair transplants are generally done in two ways — Follicular unit extraction and follicular unit transplant.
Follicular unit extraction
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant method that takes tiny implants of hair and places them on bolding patches to stimulate hair growth. It’s a safe, minimally invasive method and provides more natural-looking results than the traditional follicular unit transplant (FUT).
FUE is an outpatient method that is done in multiple 2-4 hour sessions over several days. To start the procedure, Peter Panagotacos, MD, shaves your hair in the transplant and donor area and administers a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable. Using a handheld micro punch tool, he takes hair follicles with healthy growth and then makes incisions into balding areas to gently insert the donors.
Last, he cleans and bandages the skin. You start to see results in the next 4-6 months, with peak results around the one-year mark. Patients generally see up to 80% of transplanted hair that grows back.
Is it for me?
While an FUE is a great option for hair loss, you must have enough hair to act as a donor. The best candidates for an FUE are patients experiencing hair loss on the top of the head or front of the hairline but still thick hair in the back. For men who prefer to wear their hair very short, an FUE is the best transplant option because of its minimal scarring.
Follicular unit transplant
Follicular unit transplant (FUT), also called “the strip method,” involves removing a linear piece of tissue and extracting individual hair follicles from it to place balding areas to stimulate hair growth. FUT is also done as an outpatient procedure but is generally quicker than an FUE and performed in a single day.
When you come in for a FUT, Dr. Panagotacos redraws your hairline with a skin-safe marker and labels where to place the transplants. He administers local anesthesia to your scalp to keep you comfortable from start to finish.
Dr. Panagotacos uses sutures to close your scalp and places the healthy follicles into balding parts of your scalp. He trims your hair at the donor site, generally from the back of your head, and removes a strip of skin, usually around 6-10 inches. The transplants are prepared for re-insertion by removing the hair follicles from the strip.
Finally, he bandages your scalp and applies an antibiotic.
Is it for me?
FUT is a go-to method for people with a good degree of balding who want to achieve maximum hair fullness. A FUT may be a better option for people balding on the crown of their head because it achieves the most successful hair graft and thickness. Both the FUT and FUE provide long-lasting results with healthy hair growth that is considered permanent.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy — prevent hair loss and stimulate growth
PRP therapy uses your blood to enrich hair follicles and trigger natural hair growth. PRP has been used for healing musculoskeletal injuries since the 1980s but has recently extended to cosmetic uses.
PRP is done in three steps. Dr. Panagotacos usually suggests patients come in for three initial treatments about a month apart. After three months, you might need another series of treatments to ensure you get the best results.
The first step involves drawing blood from your arm and placing it in a centrifuge. Second, the blood spins to separate its components and prepare the PRP. Last, Dr. Panagotacos draws the PRP into a syringe and administers it into balding places on your scalp.
PRP aims to provide thicker, stronger, and more hair follicles in male and female patients. PRP is a newer hair loss method, but research shows promising results — a 2019 study showed PRP provided better results for hair loss compared to Rogaine®.
Is it for me?
PRP provides the best results for patients in the early stages of hair loss. PRP may be a good option to improve hair volume and density if you have androgenic alopecia. This treatment is a more natural option for patients who aren’t looking to go under the knife, like with FUE and FUT.
The best way to know what hair restoration method is for you is by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Panagotacos. Call 415-907-7354 to schedule yours or book online.