Hair loss restoration has developed in heaps and bounds during the last couple of years. Continued research and studies resulted to improvement in the practice and innovation in equipment. Today hair loss victims can already choose from a variety of options of hair loss treatments such as low level laser treatment, hair transplant, robotic hair transplant, and something as advanced as stem cell hair loss therapy.
Low Level Laser Therapy
Low level laser therapy or LLLT is a non-invasive hair loss treatment that popular in Europe and the USA. It is used in conjunction with other hair loss products to further improve their effectiveness. Laser light is also considered by surgeons to improve the results of hair transplant surgery. But in itself it has also proven that it can stabilize hair loss and improve hair volume.
In order to treat hair loss, the low level laser energy is directed into the affected area using a special device. This promotes better circulation to the area. Adding to that it also works by converting ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). This process improves cellular metabolism due to the release of energy.
- Pros of LLLT:
One of the benefits with this type of treatment is that it does not require any incisions, therefore eliminating the chances of ugly scarring. Its main focus is restoring hair volume at the frontal area and a marked improvement in hair quality.
Some physicians claim that it actually improves the action of Propecia and Rogaine. But what makes this much better is that you don’t have to worry about any side effects. You see, the laser that is used in this type of treatment is not similar to those that have high intensity light which could create some degree of burns. Lowe level laser therapy simply has the laser light basically shine on the area.
Other reports also mention that low level laser therapy also increases hair shaft diameter in those strands that have miniaturized.
If used after hair transplant surgery, surgeons claim that it hastens the healing process, and it provides a much quicker resolution from shock loss.
- Drawbacks of LLLT:
The major concern on LLLT is that its action is limited. Even though it is able to create improvement, the results are not as dramatic as surgical hair restoration.
It may improve hair growth but it is not able to control or stop hair loss. It is also limited on patients who have minimal hair shedding or thinning.
Some surgeons are also claiming that the biggest risk that you have with LLLT is the money. This procedure requires multiple sessions to gain results. Since each session would take you back $1000-$2000, you have to set aside a good amount of your budget for it. The reason why some doctors are expressing concern is because they observe that this device would do better with further studies to really make the cost much worth it.
- The latest on LLLT
Today some manufacturers released the Hairmax comb whose shape resembles a brush. It is convenient and easy to use.
Hair transplant is a surgical treatment of hair loss by using the patient’s own hair to restore normal hair coverage in bald areas. After thorough consultation and preparation, the surgeon performs the procedure by removing donor hair grafts from the back of the head, and then transplanting them to the bald spots usually at the frontal and crown areas.
Back in the day, this procedure has not received a warm reception from the public because it has created poor results which only emphasized their problem. However an improvement in techniques and equipments made it possible to create natural-looking results. That is why the number of hair transplant cases has increased over the years.
There are actually three hair transplant techniques in practice today. These are the FUE, FUT and the latest which is the Neograft.
This is considered to be a traditional hair transplant approach also known as the strip method. The reason for being dubbed as such is because FUT involves the removal of a strip of scalp from the back of the head containing the donor grafts.
The extraction process is done by a hair technician using a high powered microscope. While this is going on, the surgeon sutures the donor site and then prepares the recipient area. After everything is set, the surgeon implants the hairs to its new home.
One of the major advantages of FUT is that the process reduces the transection rate of the hair grafts. This means that there is better yield when it comes to graft survival. Adding to this, FUT is also more affordable compared to FUE. With a single session, the surgeon can create better coverage than FUE.
One of the major concerns about this procedure is the long linear scar that results at the back of head. This would limit men to wear their hair too short because this can be immediately visible.
The invasiveness of the procedure also increases the likelihood of bleeding and infection. That is why the patient should take extra effort to prepare his body for surgery and also practice proper aftercare post surgically.
- FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
Follicular Unit Extraction is a relatively newer approach than FUT. This was actually created in order to eliminate the need of incisions resulting to the ugly scarring that is typical with its predecessor.
Using a special tool that has a punch-like action it creates a clean cut around single hair grafts allowing the surgeon to remove each directly from the scalp. This requires more skill and time to finish compared to FUT.
The major advantage with FUE is the fact that there is no large scarring involved, leaving the donor areas looking unchanged. Because it is less invasive, the patient can have faster recovery with minimal risk for complications. This technique is also able to achieve natural hair lines.
Since FUE takes meticulous effort to remove the hair grafts without transecting other surrounding hairs, the surgery takes more time to finish. In fact most of the cases with FUE would take more than one session to accomplish, so this means more money to shell out. Furthermore, FUE is also more expensive than FUT.
Neograft isn’t really different from FUE. In fact it even improves its process and outcome.
Neograft is actually a device that removes hair grafts from the donor site and then implants it to the recipient area using a suction-based system. It does not really do the work on its own, although some parts of the process are automated while there are portions where human intervention is necessary. But overall, this machine does make the process run more smoothly.
The process is started with a hand held extraction device that separates the donor grafts from its surrounding tissue. It is similar to a punch technique although this time it takes on a rotating motion. Once extracted, a gentle suction pulls the graft finally separating it from the scalp.
The graft is then suctioned through a tube into a small chamber that would gather 50 grafts which are then transferred to a Petri dish prepared with a saline solution. The second arm of the machine now takes a certain amount of grafts and then one at a time they are individually implanted into the recipient site which the surgeon has prepared beforehand.
The good thing about the Neograft machine is that it is the product of a decade of study and research. It provides a minimally invasive procedure which can certainly leave no linear scars. This also means that Neograft promotes faster recovery time compared to the other options. Since it hastens the extraction process in an FUE method, it is able to cover large areas in a single session.
Due to the lack of human control when it comes to the extraction process, there is no clear assurance that transection rate is minimized. That is why one of the major concerns with Neograft is that it has lower follicle yield for every donor area.
Some surgeons are also expressing concerns over the suction process. They claim that this causes the hair grafts to dry out resulting to poor hair growth.
The price is also another drawback is the price you have to pay for a Neograft treatment. However this can also be determined by the extent of work that has to be done. But the usual prices would run around $1800 to $4000.
Robotic Hair Transplant
Who would have known that among the list of things that a robot can be programmed to do would also include a hair transplant? Today, advanced science allowed experts to develop a machine that is able to perform a hair transplant procedure, and this is widely known as the ARTAS System. This is again another improvement of the FUE method.
- Dual needle punch mechanism
- A 3D video imaging system
- A user interface
- Disposable dermal punches
- Disposable cartridges
With the use of the 3D imaging software guided by cameras, the robot is able to determine the trajectory it needs to extract the follicles. Before the removal process, the surgeon programs the system to remove a certain number of follicles. Once the robotic system has been set a double punch extraction technique with a 1.66mm diameter is commenced.
During the entire process the patient is positioned at a certain distance from the machine with his head stabilized by straps.
Once the removal process is done, the surgeon now comes in and takes individual hair grafts, prepare them and then implant these individually to the recipient site. Watch the video below.
The ARTAS robotic system increases the extraction rate in FUE, which means that coverage is also improved. This machine demonstrated to remove hair follicles that are as much as 1,000 per hour.
It also eliminates the need of linear incisions which means that the risk of infection and bleeding is significantly lowered.
ARTAS robotic system is also able to create a natural-looking hairline.
Despite its success and rising popularity, surgeons are also expressing concern over the fact that the ability of the machine to make those customized approaches are limited. It is not able to mimick the fine touch of a skilled FUE surgeon since the machine can only be programmed with certain settings.
ARTAS can’t also be used in those patients who have curly hair, and it is also limited only to those with brown or black hair.
The large bore needle used in this machine is deliberately chosen to reduce transection rate. But what makes this an advantage also is that there is a high possibility that it can affect or damage other surrounding hairs.
Last April 14, 2011, the FDA granted the ARTAS system with a $510,000 clearance for the follicular unit extraction on men experiencing androgenetic alopecia with brown/black and straight hair. In order to improve its performance the imaging system is modified to reduce transection rates and to promote consistency of results.
Stem Cell Hair Loss Therapy
The approach of stem cell hair loss therapy is basically the same as the other techniques preceding it. It does not use any artificial materials, but rather the patient’s own blood to promote hair growth.
Stem cell is found in various organs in the body and it is found to adapt and transform itself to the tissue or organ assuming an important role in repairing and maintaining healthy tissues. Experts thought that this also carries on to a balding scalp.
This has proven to be an effective hair loss treatment when used on mice, that is why phase II studies are underway, which is to prove if this can also provide better hair regrowth on humans (both males and females).
The treatment would involve the process of drawing blood from the patient which is then centrifuged to separate the plasma component which contains growth factors and stem cells. Once this has been collected, the surgeon injects this into the affected area. In order to improve the migration of the stem cells to area of focus, a laser light is directed over it. The entire procedure is reported to create some amount of discomfort but it can be finished in just an hour, and it would only have to be performed once.
Stem cell hair loss therapy is approved by the FDA as an injectable treatment to promote wound healing in hair transplants but not on regrowing hair. Studies are still underway with researchers saying that results could be published later this year. Meanwhile, while this promising hair loss treatment is still in the works, you can still opt for other hair restoration measures available.
Surgical Hair Restoration Surgery
The surgical hair restoration industry have been marred by numerous negative issues that calls its effectiveness into question. Since it is okay for people who claim to have a surgical training, but not necessarily in surgical hair loss treatment, to perform the procedure some results come to be more devastating than the original problem.
The Australian Institute for Hair Restoration aims to remove the stigma away from the common perception by providing comprehensive and straightforward information about different hair transplant techniques. To achieve this, the hair transplant clinic highlights the importance of endorsing and explaining the intricate procedure of scientifically proven hair restoration procedures.
The success of the hair clinic has been led by the renowned hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Andrew Kim along with his team of highly trained and experienced hair technicians. They underline the importance of a clear and precise discussion of what the patient wants an.d needs to come up with a common idea of the desired outcome.