Are Stem Cell Hair Transplants the Future of Hair Restoration?

Stem cell hair transplantation treatment
  1. How does it work?
  2. Side effects
  3. Success rates
  4. Costs
  5. Alternatives

The stem cell hair transplant technique is one of the latest innovations in the field of hair restoration. In concept, it’s similar to traditional transplantation methods: stimulating hair growth in balding areas by transferring follicles from other regions of the scalp.

But surgeons performing stem cell transplants extract a small tissue sample from donor areas instead of individual follicles. Specialists then replicate the follicles from this sample in a laboratory, before the surgeon inserts it into the scalp’s balding areas. Hair follicles will grow and form new hair over time.

An Italian research team completed a successful stem cell hair transplant in 2017, but the method is still undergoing extensive testing to ensure it’s safe and viable.

But what are stem cells and how do they restore hair growth? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at stem cell hair transplants to help you determine if it’s the right solution for your hair loss.

About stem cell hair transplants

The procedure

The treatment starts with a punch biopsy. During this stage, the surgeon extracts a small cylindrical tissue sample with a special instrument featuring a rotating blade.

The tissue is inserted into a centrifuge, which spins the sample at incredible speed to separate the stem cells from the skin. This creates a cell suspension which the surgeon injects into the balding areas of the scalp.

If the treatment is successful, the implanted cells will create new growth that blends with existing hair to achieve a natural look.

stem cell hair transplantation treatment
Source: Etopical.com

Research

Research into stem cell hair transplants is ongoing. There are subtle variations between different procedures being investigated, but they all revolve around growing fresh follicles from patients’ skin samples.

A number of clinics in the UK and other countries offer stem cell transplantation.

These in-office treatments are performed on an outpatient basis, and involve taking fat from the hip or abdomen via liposuction. Local anaesthetic is administered to help the patient stay comfortable.

The stem cells are removed from the fat, then injected into the scalp. This process typically lasts around three hours, though it may vary.

However, anyone considering this treatment may prefer to wait until researchers have gathered more conclusive information on its safety.

Any clinics offering this stem cell hair transplant treatment are unable to guarantee a successful outcome. Results may differ from patient to patient, and might only begin to show after multiple treatments across a long period.

In the future, stem cell treatments could be an effective option for some of the most common types of hair loss, including male and female pattern baldness.

How long does it take to recover from a stem cell hair transplant?

Patients may experience moderate discomfort after their treatment, though this should last no longer than one week.

Patients are advised to avoid intense exercise during this period. A friend or family member should drive patients home after the procedure, due to the anaesthetic. Scarring will occur at the fat-removal sites.

hair transplant stem cell uk surgery

What are the side effects?

Further research into stem cell treatments for hair loss is required before we can fully understand potential side effects.

Bleeding, infection, and scarring are possible as with any treatment that involves cutting the skin. Punch biopsies rarely cause complications, though they could damage arteries or nerves under the biopsy site. Liposuction may also lead to these side effects and difficulties.

How successful are stem cell hair transplants?

Studies conducted so far have achieved encouraging results. According to the aforementioned Italian research, hair density increased by 29% within six months of the final session.

However, take care when researching your options. Clinics shouldn’t guarantee successful growth from stem cell hair restoration until more conclusive evidence is available to back up their claims.

How much does a stem cell hair transplant cost?

Pricing on stem cell hair treatments is still undetermined as this method is in its infancy.

Hair clinics and specialists offering their own stem cell procedures tend to avoid listing treatment costs on their websites. Instead, many invite prospective patients to contact them to find out how much they’ll pay.

cost of a stem cell hair transplant

Should you consider other hair transplant options?

Two of the most common alternatives to stem cell hair transplants are Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

FUE is the most popular of the two. It involves removing healthy follicles from donor areas on the back and sides of the scalp. These are implanted into the scalp to stimulate growth in balding areas.

This technique causes no visible scarring (unlike FUT) and has an 80% success rate. But a more advanced version — FUE2 — has a 90% success rate.

Surgeons perform this treatment with a blunt micropunch designed to extract individual follicles with the utmost care. Grafts are cleaned under a microscope before implantation.

HairPalace guarantees that 80% of implanted hairs will start growing within one year of treatment without shedding again. We’ll re-implant any hairs that fail to meet this criteria free of charge.

Unlike stem cell hair treatments, the best hair transplantation technique comes with a written guarantee and has a high success rate. Surgeons can discuss your procedure, your expected results, and potential side effects with more confidence because they’ve performed countless successful transplants.