Stem Cell Therapy For Hair Loss
Stem Cell Therapy in San Diego
Many patients are reporting great success with stem cell therapy for their hair loss. We use stem cell growth factors in essentially two different ways.
- As a stand-alone treatment for patients not quite ready for a surgical procedure.
- As a complement to our hair transplant procedure to help with the newly transplanted hairs or for areas that will not be transplanted in the first procedure.
What are stem cells?
Before we get into our specific stem cell therapy treatments, it’s important to understand what stem cells are and how they work to help with a variety of ailments.
A stem cell is a type of “unspecified” or “undifferentiated” cell in the body. This means that they are, for the most part, a “blank canvas” that can become other cell types that form in the human body. So, stem cells really have no function of their own, other than replicating other types of body cells. They then turn themselves into the type of cell that is needed and perform specific functions.
Stem cells have been used for a long time in regenerative medicine. Medical practitioners have used stem cells to treat chronic medical conditions, heal athletic injuries, restore joints, and more. Stem cell therapy is fairly new to treating hair loss and there are a variety of ways that doctors are using stem cells for hair loss.
Stem Cell Growth Factors for Hair Loss
Stem cells secrete growth factors. These growth factors are what are used for hair loss therapy. See the next section below for a more detailed explanation of where these growth factors come from and why they’re used.
Stem cell therapy promotes healthy cell growth in parts of the body that are either damaged or diseased. Stem cells also promote healing properties in the human body and can help with the reduction of scarring and inflammation. When utilizing stem cell growth factors for hair loss treatments, the factors may potentially activate hair follicles that have become dormant and have stopped growing hair.
Each hair follicle is basically a mini-organ that can become damaged over time, which causes it to stop producing hair (due to a variety of reasons). When stem cell growth factors are introduced to hair follicles, they induce changes to both developing and mature follicles by a process called “paracrine signaling”. So, stem cell growth factors are injected into the scalp and are believed to cause a “paracrine effect”, which repairs the damage to the hair follicle and the surrounding tissue, ultimately causing the hair cells to become more active.
Where do these stem cell growth factors come from?
Stem cells can come from a variety of sources. We use a highly concentrated form of mesenchymal stem cell growth factors that come from human umbilical cords, but they are not embryonic (i.e., they are not from an embryo, which would be illegal). These stem cell growth factors are harvested from the umbilical cord of pregnant females, from full-term pregnancies. The stem cells secrete a variety of growth factors; these growth factors are then harvested, which is what we use for our hair loss treatments. These are very common in medicine and we believe these give our patients the best chance for getting the desired results. These growth factors are the purest and most potent form of stem cell therapy for hair loss and are normally 50+ times more concentrated and potent than fat-derived stem cells.
Many doctors in the hair loss field use the patient’s own fat tissue to derive the stem cells. These fat stem cells will not differentiate into hair follicles – they will simply turn into mature fat cells. While there may be some validity to this process in terms of producing helpful stem cell growth factors, these types of stem cells are not nearly as potent in terms of producing helpful growth factors as the stem cells we use. This is due to the fact that fat-derived stem cells age as the patient ages (and basically become impotent), and they simply differentiate into fat. Adult fat-derived stem cells are only a small percentage as potent as umbilical stem cells in terms of producing growth factors. For example, fat-derived stem cells from a 24-year-old patient are only 2% as potent as the umbilical cord stem cell growth factors that we use. Lastly, since hair follicles are in the skin, they are a completely different stem cell derivation than fat-derived stem cells.
How are the stem cells administered to the patient?
Both of the above treatments, as a stand-alone and as a complement to a hair transplant surgery, are administered in essentially the same way. This involves the injection of mesenchymal stem cell growth factors directly into parts of the scalp affected by hair loss. After the stem cell growth factors are injected, then the hair starts to grow in about 1 month. This growth peaks in about 4-6 months. This is a simple outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour.
When using stem cell therapy in conjunction with the hair transplant procedure we will inject the stem cell growth factors into the scalp where the new hairs are being placed. This will help with healing time and what we call the “take rate” of the new hairs. This take rate is the percentage of the new hairs that will take hold in the newly transplanted site and grow. There are a variety of reasons why a hair won’t take in the newly created site, but stem cell therapy can significantly increase the likelihood of healing and growing.
Below are our 4 different treatment scenarios:
- As a stand-alone treatment in areas that are either bald or balding. This could be an alternative to hair transplantation. The crown would be one area, the front another, or we can do both. This is good for people who may be budget-conscious and/or are hesitant to go through with surgery before exhausting less expensive / less invasive options.
- As a stand-alone treatment to stimulate transplant growth in areas that were transplanted but have shown poor growth. This would be applicable to patients who may have had a prior hair transplant surgery and for whatever reason, some of the transplanted hairs are showing poor growth.
- In conjunction with a hair transplant procedure in areas that are NOT being transplanted. This would essentially target a balding area of the head where the patient is not going to transplant hair. This could be for patients who are getting the front of their head transplanted but are choosing not to get transplants in the crown on the first procedure. This is normally done so that patients can see if they respond in the crown to this treatment. If they do respond, this will allow more grafts to be transplanted to the front for a fuller front and allow for more hair growth in the crown than would be possible with transplants alone.
- In conjunction with a hair transplant procedure where we attempt to stimulate more robust graft growth. The stem cell growth factors are added to the graft preservation solution and then the preservation solution, with the stem cell growth factors, is completely injected into the scalp.
To find out more about our stem cell therapy for hair loss please contact us today. 800-262-2017