by Sara Wasserbauer, M.D.

Sara Wasserbauer, M.D.

Sara Wasserbauer, M.D.

At our clinic we have been using Acell+ PRP  (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections to help the growth of the native hair in areas of loss.   ACell (also known as MatriStem) is a product that is known to help wound healing. PRP is your own blood product with a higher concentration (3-5X) of growth factors that seem to stimulate the hair follicle (among other uses).  They are both common treatments in other areas of medicine (eg. dental, dermatology, other surgical specialties including plastic/reconstructive surgery), but it is only recently that they have started to be used and combined in hair loss medicine.  

This combination injection therapy has shown some early success in regrowing hair that is early in the hair loss process (i.e. before the scalp has lost the majority of its hair) and in helping both healing and regrowth post-operatively (i.e. after a hair transplant procedure).  Good clinical data for hair growth as a result of ACell and PRP  hair regrowth injections is still in the works, so the duration of the effect, dosing, and which patients it works best for are all still unknown, which is why any use of this treatment should still be considered experimental.  However, there seem to be no adverse reactions other than mild pain or bleeding at the injection sites, and the whole treatment takes under two hours.  It does not require a long recovery period (i.e. no more so than a dental visit).  Some hair surgeons have found that a second series of injections about 6 months after the first is beneficial, but a single treatment may also have good results by itself.

Since this use of PRP and ACell (MatriStem) is not yet fully tested, it is impossible to know how much of an effect it would have.  It is not likely to be detrimental and may in fact help growth which is why we are now offering this treatment more regularly (instead of only in special cases).   That being said, in some patients there are great results and in others the results are not as significant.  We perform extensive measurements of the hair and take photos before and after to track the progress of our patients closely. Despite the lack of high-quality trial data, results from clinical studies have been encouraging, and PRP administration remains an attractive strategy given its cost-effective and minimally invasive nature.

We have included a list of references (they are very technical – sorry!) for those of you who might like to read up on this relatively new treatment.  If you are interested in Acell/PRP injections, you should meet with Dr. Wasserbauer to get her opinion on whether or not this treatment has a good chance of helping you and to review the pros and cons.  We look forward to seeing the results of the new application of this treatment in hair and to watching the science continue to evolve!


1) Fernandez-Barbero JE, Galindo-Moreno P, Avila-Ortiz G, Caba O, Sanchez-Fernandez E, Wang HL. Flow cytometric and morphological characterization of platelet-rich plasma gel. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2006;17:687–693.


3) Miao, Y MD et al.. Promotional effect of PRP on Hair Follicle Reconstitution in Vivo. Derm Surg 2013;39:1868-1876.

Suggested reading:

  1. Stenn KS, Cotsarelis G. Bioengineering the hair follicle: fringe benefits of stem cell technology. Curr Opin Biotechnol 2005;16:493–7.
  2. Miteva M, Tosti A. Treatment options for alopecia: an update, looking to the future. Expert Opin Pharmacother 2012;13:1271–81.
  3. Eppley BL, Pietrzak WS, Blanton M. Platelet-rich plasma: a review of biology and applications in plastic surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg 2006;118:147e–59e.
  4. Uebel CO, da Silva JB, Cantarelli D, Martins P. The role of platelet plasma growth factors in male pattern baldness surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg 2006;118:1458–66.
  5. Li ZJ, Choi HI, Choi DK, Sohn KC, et al. Autologous platelet-rich plasma: a potential therapeutic tool for promoting hair growth. Dermatol Surg 2012;38:1–7.
  6. Weinberg WC, Goodman LV, George C, Morgan DL, et al. Reconstitution of hair follicle development in vivo: determination of follicle formation, hair growth, and hair quality by dermal cells. J Invest Dermatol 1993;100:229–39.
  7. Perez-Meza D. Part II The use of autologous rich and poor plasma to enhance the wound healing and hair growth in hair restoration. In programs and Abstracts. 13th ISHRS annual meeting; Sydney, Australia 2005.
  8. Uebel C. A new advance in baldness surgery using platelet-derived growth factor. Hair Transplant Forum Int 2005;15:77–84.
  9. Perez-Meza D, Leavitt M, Mayer M. The growth factors Part 1: clinical and histological evaluation of the wound healing and revascularization of the hair graft after hair transplant surgery. Hair Transplant Forum Int 2007;17:173–5.

10. Greco J, Brandt R. Preliminary experience and extended applications for the use of autologous platelet rich plasma in hair transplantation surgery. Hair Transplant Forum Int 2007;17:131–2.

11. Greco J, Brandt R. The effects of autologous platelet rich plasma and various growth factors on non-transplanted miniaturized hair. Hair Transplant Forum Int 2009;19:49–50.

12. Zheng Y, Du XB, Wang W, Boucher B. Organogenesis from dissociated cells: generation of mature cycling hair follicles from skin-derived cells. J Invest Dermatol 2005;124:867–76.

13. Jahoda CA, Horne KA, Oliver RF. Induction of hair growth by implantation of cultured dermal papilla cells. Nature 1984;311:560–2.

14. Takakura N, Yoshida H, Kunisada T, Nishikawa S, et al. Involvement of platelet derived growth factor receptor-a in hair canal formation. J Invest Dermatol 1996;107:770–7.

15. Yano K, Brown L, Detmar M. Control of hair growth and follicle size by VEGF-mediated angiogenesis. J Clin Invest 2001;107:409–17.