I’ve never been a fan of hair transplants, because even the best micro-graft transplants still have a certain transplanted look to them.
As you know, traditional hair transplantation, micro-grafting, and its newest in vogue variant follicular unit extraction, are all inherently limited in their ability to restore full density to a hairline, or more extensively balding areas by the availability of donor grafts. Even the most extensive transplants are not capable of restoring a full head of hair. In most cases they result in a person going from balding, to looking slightly less balding.
Moreover, and by far the biggest concern, is that when donor grafts are removed, usually by a strip incision in the back of the head in the donor areas, there is, no matter how thin, a telltale ear to ear scar left that will forever preclude your ability to shave your head, or even buzz it close. God forbid you have to have chemo, or your head shaved for some reason. What will you tell people? You’ve been abducted by aliens?? This is one inconvenient truth somehow left out of the deceptively slick before/after ad brochures, that promise you to have your permanent hair back.
We have all anxiously anticipated the day when an unlimited follicle transplant that would leave no donor scar would be available. Such a transplant I would consider to be a cosmetically viable solution-not the one that currently exist. Various rumors of Dr Gho of the Netherlands with his hair multiplication, along with pending corporate ventures such as Aderans and InterCytex, with their hair cloning technology have consistently vaporized like a heat mirage on an Arizona highway. It appears though, that the corner has finally been turned.
New development in unlimited hair follicle transplant
C-M Lin1, K Huang2 and Y Li3 1Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China; 2Second Affiliated Hospital, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China and 3First Affiliated Hospital, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China
Hair transplantation has had an important role in the treatment of hair loss. However, hair transplantation in fact represents hair redistribution. Thus, traditional hair transplantation is greatly restricted by insufficient transplants. Some studies have demonstrated that HF (hair follicle) upper fragments can regrow HFs. Despite the low success rate, hair graft number can be increased by hair follicle dissection. Here, we established a method to increase the regrowth rate of single HF upper fragments. HF upper fragments were obtained from the vibrissa of SpragueDawley rats at the level of hair bulb. Segments were transplanted underneath the skin of nude mice (6 segments per mouse, 1.5-cm distance between segments). Then culture medium of vibrissa HF was injected into the transplanted sites every 2 days, and grafts were excised at days 3, 7, and 9 and weeks 2 and 4. The control group received DMEM+10% fetal calf serum instead of HF culture medium. In all, 91.7% of the fragments (66/72) were able to regrow into intact HF from 7 days to 4 weeks. Only 2/38 of control mice fragments showed intact HF regrowth after 4 weeks of transplantation. We traced the expression of Wnt5a during the regrowth of HF: at 3 days after transplantation, the experimental group showed Wnt5a expression at the newly formed connective sheets. At 9 days, Wnt5a was expressed strongly at the typical newly formed DPs. We also designed a novel HF transplantation device that includes scissors at the bottom to dissect the HF bulb when obtaining HF from the donor. The remaining HF bulbs were able to regrow intact HFs in the donor sites. As well, the upper site of HFs can be used as hair graft transplants by the method above. Thus, our HF fragment transplantation method is a new development in unlimited hair follicle transplant.
The fact that this breakthrough is occurring in China bodes even better: China currently has medical care that is more advanced than the US in many areas. By comparison they generally have much better outcome measures in most areas than the USA. Not least significantly is that medical procedures in China cost on average one fifth of what the same procedures cost in the United States. Medical tourism to China from the US is a booming industry-there are many travel agencies that specialize in package deals. The cost of such a procedure, were it available in the US would be prohibitive.
For those interested in following through on this, the University (Shantou University Medical College) and the listed researchers can be readily contacted. A Chinese translation service may or may not be needed.
As good as this news is, our goal of course, is to keep one from ever having to resort to a procedure like this in the first place. Fortunately this is readily doable for anyone in the beginning and intermediate stages of hair loss using either a Natural, Pharmaceutical, or combination approach.
Comment: For those however, in the longstanding, advanced stages of hair loss, this breakthrough does offer some viable possibility-likely at a fraction of what it would cost in either the US or Europe.