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Stem Cell Hair Transplant – the future of hair restoration explained

stem cell hair transplant

Did you know that the average person is born with 100,000 hair follicles and not a single hair follicle is produced on our scalp ever again?

Although the hair grows and falls and then grows again from these follicles, which can be thought of like the factory of hair, when the follicles themselves fall out, they’re never replaced.

And that’s what makes hair loss an issue 50% of men have to go through by the age of 50.

But, the innovative discoveries made around stem cells can actually enable us to replicate our own hair follicles in a lab, and actually carry hair restoration procedures to a whole new level.

In this blog, I want to talk about what these new discoveries are, and how exactly they’ll help us:

Also, I’ll tackle a few misconceptions about the topic.

But let’s start with the basics:

What Is a Stem Cell?

Stem cells can be referred to as your body’s raw materials, the very basic form of animal cells which all the other specialist cells are derived from. In addition to enabling us to understand the wonders of our systems and cells, stem cells are also used to repair and replace cells we can’t replace on our own.

They can, in the future, be used to create and replace any of our organs or tissue, which makes them a significant and exciting discovery in the field of biology and medicine.

Background

It was 1961 when James Till, a biophysicist, and Ernest McCulloch, a cellular biologist, first discovered stem cells in Ontario Cancer Institute, Canada.

Although their research didn’t echo at the time, because the research was more theoretical than practical at first. Later, as the technology caught up to understand and utilize the potential of stem cells, a sudden influx of attention flowed through the stem cell theory.

Today, with a billion-dollar industry revolving around this magnificent discovery, thousands of scientists try to take a step toward the future using these stem cells, including experts in dermo-cosmetics and hair restoration:

What Is a Stem Cell Hair Transplant

A stem cell hair transplant is a process where scalp tissues are extracted from the donor area using a medical punch device, then stem cells are extracted from this tissue using centrifugation before injecting these stem cells into bald areas of the scalp.

Background

In a 2017 study, researchers from the University of Rome School of Medicine developed a new method to separate human stem cells from the adipose tissue harvested using a punch biopsy tool.

They conducted an experiment on 11 patients with male pattern baldness in late stages, aged 38-61.

They injected the patients with the stem cells they harvested from each patient’s donor area. This study was a defining work for stem cell hair therapies since they saw a 29% increase in hair density in a matter of just 28 weeks.

This study kicked a significant amount of excitement in the field of hair restoration since it can mean that patients can battle hair loss without any serious surgical procedure, with their body’s own resources.

Stem Cell Hair Transplant Process

So, what’s the exact process?

In this section, I’ll dive deeper and look into the process of a stem cell transplant for pattern baldness, step by step.

Harvesting Tissue

Harvesting – Steps of the stem cell therapy from the 2017 study.

Initially, the surgeon will need deep tissue from the donor area to extract stem cells. So, using a biopsy punch tool called “Rigenera Securdrill Device”, tissue is extracted from the scalp.

Then, these scalp tissues are cut into strips of 2mm by 2mm to more easily separate stem cells in the next step.

Extracting Stem Cells from Tissue

The cut strips of tissue are then centrifugated at 80 RPM per minute using a centrifuge, which is a device that can separate fluids and solids of different densities from each other.

60 seconds later, the suspension that is separated from the tissue that contains stem cells are filled into a mechanical injection device.

Injecting Stem Cells into the Scalp

Injection – Steps of the stem cell therapy from the 2017 study.

And in the final step, these mechanical injector is used to inject the solution into the patient’s skin, targeting the bald areas of the scalp.

Do Stem Cell Hair Transplants Even Work?

The reason numerous experts refer to stem cell hair transplants as the next step in hair restoration is that it is extremely promising, especially considering the study I’ve just mentioned.

Here is one of the patients’ who underwent the experimental stem cell therapy, and his results at the beginning of the study, 3 weeks later, 9 weeks, and 23 weeks following the injection, respectively.

Results from the 2017 study on stem cell hair transplants.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous section of this blog, the researchers observed a 29% average increase in hair density 23 weeks after the injection. This increase is much more than every other non-surgical hair restoration method in much less time.

But, to prove its effectiveness and develop more efficient variations, stem cells and hair regrowth should be explored further with more studies and research.

How long does an implanted stem cell last?

Although stem cells have proven that they can act as a solid way to stop hair loss, they might not be a one-off operation.

Just like various other non-surgical treatments including injections or laser therapies, stem cell injections might be needed to be done on a regular basis to keep your healthy and improved hair.

Or, it might not. Once the lack of published research on this subject is clear, we can have a better understanding of the exact steps of the process.

Will Stem Cells Cure Baldness?

Most experts, including myself, agree that the future of medicine and biology, including the treatment of hair loss, is in stem cells.

Unless there is a brand new method that will cure baldness once and for all, stem cell therapies and stem cell hair transplants seem to be the next step in hair restoration.

But, the thing is, there isn’t any FDA-approved stem cell therapy available at the moment.

It’s all experimental and can take years to fully develop, do clinical tests, get the necessary approvals, and turn into a field of its own.

Stem cell hair transplants are very likely the future of the industry, but they’re still in the future right now.

The Best Next Thing: DHI and Sapphire FUE

It wouldn’t make sense to wait years, or maybe even decades, which is completely unclear, for stem cell hair transplants.

Although stem cells are much more promising, they won’t help you get back to your natural self and appearance by this time next year.

But, FUE and DHI hair transplants enrichened with bio-enhancements will.

At the moment, the most efficient and the most advanced hair restoration methods are two variations of the traditional FUE:

1️⃣ Direct Hair Implantation: DHI, invented by DHI Medical Group in 1999, is a modified variation of FUE where an implanter pen replaces forceps and scalpels used in the implantation stage of the hair transplant surgery. This way, the action is reduced to a single motion which allows for better control over the angle and depth of implantation. The recovery time is faster, scarring is much less, and the end quality is much better.

2️⃣ Sapphire FUE: Sapphire FUE is also a modified version of FUE that also replaces scalpels with a scalpel knife that has a sapphire tip, which makes it much sharper and allows for even smaller incisions. With Sapphire FUE, the recovery and angles of incisions are much better, and the results look even more natural.

🧪 Bio-Enhancements: In traditional FUE and FUT surgeries, the harvested grafts are kept out of the body in proper storage liquid, which can harm the grafts and damage them, lengthening the healing process. With bio-enhancements such as liposomal ATP, HypoThermosol, and ACell along with PRP injections used throughout the surgery, experts have seen a drastic increase in the recovery periods.

So, even though the future of hair restoration is not here, you can restore your natural hair today, with the expert touch and the proper techniques.

Take the First Step with UnitedCare

At UnitedCare, we believe in progress and success.

We believe that medicine is progressing forward and eventually find a much better and much more efficient way of treating hair loss. So, we adopt clinically proven and regulated strategies to ensure we do our best to help our patients succeed.

As a dermatologist duo with 20 years of combined experience, we’ve adopted a holistic approach to hair loss, and combined DHI/Sapphire FUE with bio-enhancements and helpful medications to restore your natural hairline.

So you can stop worrying about your hair loss for life.

Dermatologist Dr. Utkan K. operating Sapphire FUE.

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Restore your natural look with a Dermatologist:

UnitedCare and its expert dermatologist doctors provide you with a holistic approach to FUE surgeries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How much does the stem cell hair transplant cost?

Although the method isn’t yet cleared or approved by the U.S. FDA, you can get a stem cell hair transplant in investigational clinics in other parts of the world with costs ranging between $4000 and $10,000. The cost will change according to what you need, what the clinic charges on a basic level, and of course the country the clinic is located in.


Can stem cells cure baldness?

The potential of stem cells is unlimited, and the thought of stem cells being the complete and absolute cure for baldness makes sense. Currently, injections of stem cells deep into the tissue in bald areas of the patient’s scalp are being tested in various clinics with great promise of success.


Is stem cell the same as PRP?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cells are two different agents. Although PRP injections promote growth and healing, stem cells can actually regenerate and even replace damaged or destroyed tissue in the target area. Also, stem cells have returned much better results than PRP injections in healing and promoting growth.

Utkan Kızıltaç, MD

Chief Physician and Dermatologist Hair Transplant Surgeon of UnitedCare, a dermatology clinic helping patients become the best version of themselves.

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