Latest Information about Hair Transplant Procedures
Hair transplant has seen amazing development during its evolution in the past six decades, from plugs to follicular unit transplantation, and from strip removal to (FUE) follicular unit extraction. For the last few years however, we are stuck with few (but good) methods. Nowadays, most surgeons are doing hair transplants using strip harvesting or FUE. The question arises, if we have two methods capable of producing good results, why do we need some other advanced methods. Let us first examine a few issues and some latest information about hair transplant procedures.
Issues with current methods
I still assert that strip removal and FUE are capable of producing good results. However, the first issue is the need of a skilled surgeon. The success of any hair transplant depends on the skill of the surgeon. The need of skilled surgeon is adding in the cost of transplants.
The second, and even more important, issue is the availability of donor hair follicles. Hair transplant cannot create any new hair follicles. So, the results are entirely dependent on the quantity and quality of donor hair follicles. Because someone else’s hair cannot be used for transplantation, one should have ample donor hair follicles on his or her head to have a good transplant. Other issues regarding downtime and recovery also have a lot of room for improvement.
We are continuously hearing catchy terms like laser hair transplant, automated hair transplant, and robotic hair transplant. If we look at them, even casually, we will realize that these are little variations of widely used FUE method – far from new transplant techniques as they are being marketed. Laser hair transplant only uses a laser beam to create recipient sites – tiny holes where hair needs to be transplanted. Automated hair transplant and robotic hair transplant are yet other terms to attract clients. They do help the surgeon to carry out transplant, but cannot be regarded as new transplant methods.
Future of hair transplant
Research is continuously trying to develop methods, which can be regarded as really new and breakthrough. Here are two directions, the research is focused, to develop new methods and address the limitations in current transplant techniques.
The research regarding gene therapy is still in its infancy stage. The idea behind gene therapy is to separate the gene that is responsible for balding from the human DNA. This DNA will be introduced into the patient’s hair cells, preventing cells from being affected by DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone responsible for destroying hair follicles and causing male pattern baldness.
Manipulating DNA is not an easy task. Scientists are very keen to understand and manipulate DNA, but a great deal of research is needed before this therapy becomes reality.
Hair cloning aims at solving the donor supply issue. Imagine if your one balding resistant hair follicle can be cloned into 5,000, 10,000, or even 50,000 hair follicles! Baldness could be eradicated from this planet – sounds marvelous. Two organizations, Aderans, Japan and Intercytex, England, are seriously researching commercially feasible ways to multiply hair follicles.
Another scientific term for hair cloning is tissue-developed hair growth. This approach involves extracting single hair cell from the balding resistant donor area and replicating it in the laboratory. These “dermal papilla” cells develop into hair follicles in a process called follicular neogenesis.
However, in my opinion, it will take another 8-10 years for this method to be commercially available. For now, I do not recommend you to wait for cloning. Get the transplant with existing techniques. When hair cloning will arrive in the future, you will be able to have any level of density and fullness. Feel free to contact our professional staff and surgeons for all available options and the one most suitable for you.