Scientists have not yet come up with a permanent and effective treatment for hair loss that is also easily affordable. Nevertheless, the tides are changing now. As we beckon scientists to keep looking, a new therapy is underway.
Stem therapy is an exciting new option in matters of hair loss treatment – because its potential benefits are very promising.
For most people, the growth of hair tends to slow with age. Since treatment options are not very effective, patients suffering from hair loss often feel discouraged, less confident, a little depressed and often very unhappy.
There is more than enough evidence that the current scenario will change – although it will take a little bit more time.
A study that was published in 2017 about the use of stem cells for the treatment of alopecia was one of the first of its kind to have been performed successfully. The study was done by Italian researchers.
As you can see, in a period of just 23 weeks, stem cell therapy achieved excellent results in a male patient.
Although the test was a success, this procedure has not been fully incorporated in the general hair loss treatment armamentarium, mainly due to the cost factor. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to understand the first things first.
What is stem cell therapy for hair?
To give you a better understanding, we will start by defining the jargon in this question first. What really is a stem cell hair regrowth procedure? I’m afraid we will have to delve deeper in embryology and anatomy here.
Have you ever wondered how the several cells, tissues, organs, and parts of a human being develop from just the mere fusion of one ovum and one sperm? I mean, what forms the skin, the blood cells, the bones, the hair, etc.?
Well, there are these particular types of cells called stem cells. These cells are very special. They have a remarkable potential to develop into different kinds of cells depending on the stimulating factor. Ideally, there are two major types of stem cells: embryonic and somatic.
Embryonic stem cells are the ones responsible for forming a human being after fertilization. They differentiate and give rise to all the organs, tissues and the other structures characteristic of a human being.
Somatic stem cells, on the other hand, can be termed as adult stem cells. They are mostly responsible for the healing and regeneration of new cells and tissues.
For instance, the cells lining your gut have the highest turnover. They are worn out every three days. It takes stem cells to produce new cells that line the stomach, and the cycle continues.
Your blood cells – especially the white blood cells and the red blood cells, may reduce in number due to an infection or excessive bleeding. When this happens, stem cells in the bone marrow usually replenish the cell count.
The same is right about hair – here are stem cells that can replenish hair when it is lost. With the current advances in medical technology, stem cells can actually be harvested and injected into the body.
This is the basis for stem cell therapy for hair loss. The procedure is somewhat very straightforward:
In stem cell treatment for hair loss, a punch biopsy is done to extract stem cells. A machine called a centrifuge is then used to separate the stem cells from the tissue that has been obtained from a biopsy.
Once the stem cells have been obtained, they are injected back into the regions experiencing hair loss where they trigger the growth of hair.
How effective is stem cell therapy for hair regrowth?
Stem cell therapy for hair loss is not only effective but also very convenient. It is a non-surgical procedure with impressive results. It is quite expensive right now, but further research and development will bring costs down in the future.
To understand how effective it is, allow me to mention what I didn’t say previously about the characteristic s of stem cells.
These cells are capable of generating other cells that are different from them in structure and function. Another essential characteristic is that stem cells are capable of self-renewal. This means that they can undergo cell division and produce other stem cells with the same function and purpose.
But how does this concept answer the question about the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for hair loss?
Well, it would be one of the most promising methods for treating hair loss. Although, medicine has not cracked the code of achieving permanent treatment with stem cell therapy for hair loss, yet. It can be hypothesized that this technique can achieve permanence through the following mechanism:
The stem cells will be continually generating hair cells that are different from them. And they will be continually creating other stem cells; so, you won’t “run-out-of-stem-cells” – if ever there is such a phrase in medicine.
It also helps in growing hair at a faster rate than any other method for hair loss.
Now here is the catch:
Most people offering (or purport to offer) stem cell therapy hair regrowth claim that it is not permanent and they are very right. But the procedure being permanent is the whole idea behind the numerous research studies around it.
NOTEAs of now, you may need a booster treatment every 2 to 3 years to maintain your hair growth.
Currently, the FDA has not approved stem cell therapies for the treatment of hair loss. Actually, the FDA has released a warning in 2017 for those considering stem cell therapies.
In the warning, they said that those who are considering this option should choose only those that are approved by FDA or studies that are under the Investigational New Drug Application (INDA) that is approved by FDA.
Thus, if you’re looking for a different hair loss treatment option that minoxidil and finasteride but you also want it to be safe, you might want to take a look at low-level laser therapy devices. Most of them are FDA cleared and have shown moderate results in hair loss management.
What is the cost of stem cell therapy for hair?
Stem cell therapy is one of the most expensive treatments out there. Various clinics that offer investigational treatments for stem cell hair replacements can charge anywhere between $3000 and $10,000 per patient.
However, there are some clinics that will charge you a whopping $25,000 for stem cell hair replacement therapy.
Side effects of stem cell therapy
Like all other medical procedures, stem cell therapy has its side effects. Despite being non-surgical, the side effects are majorly due to the processes that accompany it.
The punch biopsy for extracting the stem cells involves the extraction of a small tissue from the head – or any other preferred site.
This procedure possesses a small risk of bleeding depending on the experience of the person doing the biopsy and the equipment used. Besides, infections can occur if proper aseptic precaution and wound management are not initiated to speed up the healing process.
Another side effect that might appear is scar formation at the biopsy site, even though disfiguring scars are very unlikely with small punches. Healing can either be by complete regeneration of the tissue to its original appearance, or by scarring which may be quite bothersome to some people.
Availability of stem cell procedures
Treatment of hair loss is a booming business. Everyone wants to grab a share of the precious money that cycles in this industry. Everyone wants to look good – not just so that they are appreciated by others, but because they strive to build on their self-worth. No one wants to walk around with scanty hair.
Now, there is good news and bad news to this:
The good news is that there are several treatment options for hair loss. The bad news, on the other hand, is that the FDA has not yet approved most clinics to offer stem cell therapy for hair loss.
Despite being unapproved, there are hair clinics that still offer this service.
Because let’s face it: As studies are not yet conclusive, the doctors cannot comment on the permanence of the procedure. Little is known about its effectiveness and above all, it is not approved.
But that should not deter you from trying out the procedure.
Actually, there are clinics that have been approved to carry out this procedure for investigational purposes. Other studies that are covered by the Investigational New Drug Application can also perform this procedure.
Stem cell therapy recovery and success rate
You may experience some pain after the procedure. The pain will resolve in about one week. Although your doctor may not tell you that you need time to recover, you should avoid excessive physical activity.
During healing, you may notice a little scarring where the biopsy was obtained. You should keep that area clean to avoid infections.
NOTEIf your procedure involves the injection of anesthesia, the effects of the medication used by the anesthetist might deter you from doing basic activities, such as driving, immediately after the procedure.
Regenera activa procedure for hair loss
Regenera Activa is a patented procedure that involves the injection of a particular suspension into your scalp. The suspension contains progenitor cells, growth factors, and stem cells. All these are geared towards achieving a successful stem cell therapy for hair loss.
What are the possible effects of regenera activa?
The procedure is chiefly designed to stimulate the growth of new hair. It uses a multipurpose approach towards achieving the desired outcome because of the several components of the suspension being injected into your scalp.
Adequate enhancement of hair thickening, as well as the inhibition of hair loss, can be achieved in this procedure. The components of the suspension actively boost the regenerative potential of your hair.
Into the procedure
The procedure for this treatment plan can be summarized in three key steps:
First, your doctor will inject local anesthesia in the region where a biopsy is going to be obtained. Usually, the preferred area is around the nape or occipital region of the neck. A punch biopsy is then done with a tool that produces samples that are 2.5 mm in diameter. The nape of the neck is preferred for a biopsy because it is one of those regions in the body that are not susceptible to alopecia.
The second step involves the mechanical processing of the samples obtained from the patient. The sample is subjected to special filtration processes that will only isolate stem cells, progenitor cells, and growth factors from the biopsied sample.
The third and final step involves the injection of the suspension containing the isolated factors into the scalp region with hair loss.
The technique used is called mesotherapy. The depth of injection is approximately 4 to 5 mm into the scalp. That causes slightly higher pain compared to micro-needling but it is manageable. Local anesthesia and other techniques can be used to minimize the discomfort.
Another critical component of the procedure is the stimulation of blood vessel formation. This combination therapy ensures a heightened regenerative potential of hair follicles.
The procedure is well established in Singapore and some European countries and is currently regarded as the best regenerative therapy for hair loss.
You are likely to observe results about 4 to 6 weeks after initiation of therapy. Fortunately, the regenerative potential of progenitor cell and stem cells begin to generate new hair, stops hair loss and also primes the existing hair follicles to continue proliferating.
You can see the exact process in a video below:
Why regenera activa might benefit you
The procedure is clinically proven that it can work for hair loss, but more studies are required to confirm its efficacy versus other treatment methods. It is also certified as very effective and safe by various international regulatory bodies such as the US FDA HAS in Singapore and CE of Europe.
It also has a rich reputation among its clients. Currently, it is estimated that Regenera activa has benefitted more than 20,000 different patients ever since it was launched.
Another good thing about this procedure is that it is a totally natural method of treatment. All the substances being injected into your scalp are all from your body. As a result, there is no likelihood of suffering any complication that may have arisen if extracts from another person are used.
Are you worried about the side effects?
This treatment method has no severe side effects, apart from the pain or bleeding that may occur during the procedure.
There is no proven evidence that the same effect can occur with Regenera activa. It also has no side effects like the common sexual dysfunction and reduced libido in people who use drugs like oral or topical finasteride that block DHT.
Regenera activa currently costs $3500 in Singapore and around $2000 in European countries like Poland. That’s cheaper than the $10,000 fee for hair transplants. Even though, the latter is a more permanent solution.
Stem cell replacement therapy for hair loss is an excellent method of treatment. Although the FDA has not fully embraced its use as an approved treatment method, some clinics will offer you one of the best services available. Active research and development in this field will help to bring this new treatment method to the mainstream market.
The most common procedure that you are likely to find is Regenera activa. The prices are not the cheapest you can find around, neither are they exorbitant. You can be sure that you will get the exact quality that you paid for. If you are ever in doubt, feel free to consult your dermatologist for further advice.