Stem cells, PRP therapy and hair transplants

Hair loss experts are always looking for ways to improve on the outcomes of the hair transplant procedures that they perform. One of the downfalls of any medical procedure is the recovery time. Because of this, scientists have been interested in investigating ways to speed up wound healing and shorten the time of recovery for patients.

Stem cells are found throughout the human body, and not only in a developing fetus like many people assume. We all have stem cells which can develop into other types of cells; the extent of this ability varies based on the type of cell though.

Why stem cells are useful

Stem cells can be obtained from the skin and also from particular areas of the hair follicle. Stem cells have to be separated from other tissue that has been removed before they can be used. This is achieved by using a centrifuge, which is an instrument that rotates rapidly allowing different-sized cells and particles to separate out.

The idea behind using stem cells as part of a hair transplant procedure is to help further stimulate healing of tissues and to increase or further trigger hair follicle growth. There has also been research done on growing hair follicles in a Petri dish in the laboratory using stem cells. However, it may be some time before this procedure works well, gives acceptable results, and becomes available for clinics to use. It is likely that sometime in the future, stem cells can be used to regrow hair, particularly for people who do not have enough hair for a conventional hair transplant.

Why PRP therapy is good for hair transplants

PRP therapy is plasma-rich platelet therapy, which is blood plasma with high concentrations of platelets present. The blood plasma is taken from the patient and prepared using a centrifuge. The plasma is also rich in growth factors and stem cells, and is thus a good way to help stimulate cell growth in tissues that need to be repaired.

PRP therapy is not that new and has been used in medicine before to help with tendon repairs and even tissue growth after heart surgery. There are many benefits to the procedure including the fact that your own blood is used so there is no risk of tissue rejection.

The growth factors and enriched blood supply of PRP helps to increase healing; this means that patients are likely to have a shorter healing time and better outcome from hair transplant procedures. It is worth remembering that even though the modern hair transplantation methods such as the FUE involve only small incisions, these are still wounds that need to heal. The transplanted hair follicles also need to grow and produce new strands of hair, which is stimulated by the blood supply to the cells.

Scientists have done research that has shown PRP therapy to be helpful for men undergoing hair transplants due to androgenetic alopecia. Both PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are useful in promoting growth of new hair in people who have hair transplant work done. Continued research is likely to lead to improvements and better outcomes using these methods as part of a hair transplant procedure.