Successful treatment of corticosteroid-resistant ophiasis-type Alopecia Areata with Platelet-Rich Plasma

“Successful treatment of corticosteroid-resistant ophiasis-type Alopecia Areata with Platelet-Rich Plasma”

Donovan; 2016

Alopecia Areata (AA) comes in many different forms; ophiasis affects back and sides of scalp and has been found to be more resistant to current treatments and technology; other kinds of AA, that have had more success from current treatments include monolocularis AA (in one area of the scalp) and multilocularis AA (“patchy” AA, over all of the scalp).


41-year-old woman, suffering from ophiasis-type AA and bipolar disorder; poor response to steroid treatments, with a systematic mood change after each treatment; previously treated with minoxidil and topical steroids, to no avail; suffered from patchy AA over the last decade, with an appearance of ophiasis-type AA over the last 2 years; blood test showed “normal” platelet count ( platelets).

Decision to treat patient with Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), not activated; use of Angel machine to process the blood; PRP injected at platelet concentration 3.5 times over baseline.

  • Angel process consisted in drawing 120mL from patient and injecting into machine; PRP product was diluted with Platelet-Poor Plasma (PPP) to achieve final desired concentration; final yield of 9mL PRP.

Patient supported procedure well, with only mild tenderness noticed the following days; hair growth started 1 month after injection, with a significant growth noticed after 3 months; no adverse side effects, and no mood swings noted by patient.

First study that focused solely on ophiasis-type AA; previous studies on “patchy” multilocularis AA had shown similar results, with an overall success of study; mood swings are a perfect example of the unpredictable nature of steroid injections, can occur after single injection.

Steroid injections are commonly associated with side effects (atrophy, pigmentation change); not systematic and hard to predict; depends on frequency and location of injection, as well as the patient.

When taken orally, mood swings still occur, with a dose dependant reaction pattern noticed.

Autologous PRP doesn’t seem to be associated with the mood swings linked to corticosteroids; no side effects recorded, for that matter; presents a real advantage for the treatment of AA.


What to take away from paper:

  • PRP has real potential to treat steroid-resistant forms of AA.
  • Possibility to use PRP to counter the side effects of common treatments and can be very beneficial to certain patients.
  • Angel machine is a top choice for PRP manufacturing.