Vampire hair treatment: Using your own blood to restore thinning hair

BOCA RATON, Fla.-Many think the key to looking youthful starts with a full head of hair.  A new spooky-sounding, non-invasive treatment is sprouting up and the patient's own blood is at the root.

Michael Marciano is the active father of two twin teenage girls.  He wants his exterior to reflect how young he feels.  Marciano is visiting Dr. Alan J. Bauman at Bauman Medical Group for a treatment he hopes will turn back the clock.

It may sound hair-raising, and well, that's the idea.  Marciano is undergoing the "Vampire treatment."

"Obviously, it's kind of a funky term but it's all right.  I'm good with it," Marciano laughed.

Bauman says it is less invasive than implants, a procedure Marciano has undergone in the past.

"I believe that this is certainly considerably better than that, I'm hoping," he laughed.

Bauman says the procedure has been around for decades, used in the science of healing wounds and injuries.  More recently, however, it's been incorporated into medical procedures like facelifts and hair restoration.

"Vampire therapy really comes from platelet-rich plasma," explained Bauman.

With platelet-rich-plasma, or PRP, Marciano's own blood is drawn.  It is put into a centrifuge to extract platelets. 

"The platelets contain really powerful growth factors.  Which influence cellular metabolism and activity," Bauman explained.

The platelets are mixed with cell therapy treatments.  In the last couple of years, Bauman says, the added treatments continue to evolve and improve.

The most painful part of the procedure for Marciano is the process of getting his scalp numbed.  The platelets are then injected into Marciano's scalp in areas where he is experiencing thinner hair.

"Where the follicles are completely obliterated, PRP is not going to have too much of an effect.  But the areas where hair loss is occurring, where the hair is weaker, thinner, whisper, that's where you are going to see the improvement," Bauman explained.

Bauman says the procedure can also work for patients with alopecia areata, an auto-immune disease. 

Alopecia caused all of Denyse's hair to fall out in just six weeks.  "I tried to handle it as gracefully as I could - I was mortified, I was embarrassed, I was humiliated," she said.

Denyse says it was difficult looking into her daughter's eyes and seeing that her daughter felt sorry for her.  By strangers, she would occasionally be asked if she had cancer.

"I was even asked that, and even by women who did have cancer and did lose their hair.  And it was really those women who I looked at and said I really didn't have any problem to what you're dealing with."

Even with the support of her husband and children, Denyse wanted her hair back.  While treatments started to regrow her hair, patches of hair started to fall out again.  Bauman suggested she try PRP.

"Now I can tell you there's just not a spot on my head that doesn't have nice, full, thick hair," she said.

Bauman says the night of the treatment, patients can wash and style their hair as they wish, and it is difficult to see the procedure has been done.  Results start to be noticeable in 90 days.  Results can take up to a year. 

"Maintain my youth as long as I possibly can.  So call it vanity, call it whatever it may be.. but it's kept me happening," Marciano laughed.

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