A gentleman has been facing the issue of hair loss since 18-years-old. He is now 21 and is wondering if he should get a hair transplant.
Dr. Amiya Prasad explains that male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness (MBP) is usually caused by a genetic predisposition. Progenitor cells which are important in the protection of the hair follicles may be diminished or absent, leaving hair follicles vulnerable to the effects and attacks of dihydrotestosterone ( DHT). This causes the sudden weakness of the hair follicles and literally chokes them until they get smaller, which is referred to as miniaturization.
An FDA approved drug to combat DHT is Finasteride which is an oral medication that blocks it. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of concerns about the long term sexual side effects of using this drug. Another drug is Minoxidil which has been around since the 80s, which is a topical treatment. Minoxidil tends to be not effective for men who have had pattern hair loss at a younger age.
Dr. Prasad emphasizes that it has been a standard not to treat young people with a transplantation because of a couple of reasons: even with a transplant, you can’t achieve the level of thick hair; and you may still lose hair from the ongoing progression of baldness. This means that even if we transplant one hair, you may lose two or three hairs.
In Dr. Prasad’s practice, he approaches hair loss in a different way called Hair Regeneration using a material called extracellular matrix (ECM) made by ACell which is used for wound healing. This material is combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a material that contains growth factors drawn from the patient’s own blood, and also combined with vitamin D. It is placed in a very specific way under the layer of skin called the dermis that stimulates cellular repair and growth. This results in the growth and healing of hair follicles. In fact, patients who had these injections look as if they had a hair transplant.
When deciding on whether or not to do a hair transplant, Dr. Prasad usually waits about a year after he does the Hair Regeneration injection. He then discusses with the patient about a decision of a hair transplant based on a couple of factors: the donor hair density or how much hair the patient has in the back per square centimeter; and the hair thickness and quality because it takes more fine hairs to cover areas that can be covered by one thick hair.
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