Having an additional treatment alongside your hair transplant can help to promote hair growth and speed up healing. Extra treatments have become increasingly popular in recent years, with methods such as platelet-rich plasma treatment (PRP) and mesotherapy being common options. Thanks to the rise in popularity of these additional treatments, clinics now offer packages combining them with a hair transplant.
Now, there is a new method available. Stem cell hair transplants were developed by Turkish surgeon Dr. Bülent Cihantimur, MD at Estetik International in Istanbul. The procedure involves a stem-cell-enriched injection that relies on a form of stem cell therapy to boost the recipient area prior to a transplant.
Before we go into this new treatment in too much detail though, it’s important to first get an understanding of what stem cells are and how they’re commonly used.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, meaning they can develop into any kind of cell or tissue in your body. A distinction can be made between embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs).
Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs)
ESCs are pluripotent cells, meaning they can differentiate into any cell type in the human body. They therefore play a vital role in the development of an embryo, from a mass of cells into a fully-formed human being.
Adult Stem Cells (ASCs)
ASCs are the cells used in stem cell therapy. They are a bit more restricted in their ability to adapt than ESCs, as they can only form cell types found in the specific organ or tissue they have been taken from.
What Is a Stem Cell Hair Transplant and How Does It Work?
Similar to PRP, stem cell hair transplants use the patient’s own body cells to increase the efficiency of the recipient area — the area of their head in which hair will be transplanted to. Unlike PRP, however, the stem cells are injected before the actual hair transplant surgery, not afterwards.
Collecting the ASCs
The stem cells can be taken from fat tissue from any part of the patient’s body, however it needs to be taken from subcutaneous adipose tissue which sits in the fat layer just beneath the skin. The fat tissue is collected, processed, and enriched with the stem cells. The whole collection process is carried out in a closed lipokit system, meaning there’s no exposure to air. This prevents contamination and allows for a higher viability rate of the collected cells.
Preparation and Injection
After the ASC-enriched fat mixture has been prepared, the patient’s head is cleaned and the recipient area for the hair transplant is sterilised. The mixture is then injected into the patient’s scalp. The nutrition process immediately sets in, allowing the recipient area to begin regenerating.
As well as the regenerative effects, the injection also causes the recipient area to swell. This actually helps to make the surgeon’s work easier and more comfortable, as it decreases bleeding and makes the skin more rigid. These two things make creating incisions simpler and reduce the risks of cutting hair follicles or damaging the deeper blood vessels and nerves in the scalp.
Swelling caused by the stem-cell enriched injection also removes the need to use a chemical or saline solution. This is normally applied before a hair transplant surgery to increase scalp volume for the procedure, which can have the negative effect of hindering the growth of the newly transplanted hair follicles.
The whole procedure lasts about 45 minutes. Patients should not eat or drink the night before the treatment, until the fat transfer is completed.
Treatment Terms to Look Out For
When it comes to this area of treatment, it can get confusing, with different doctors using different names for the treatment. Terms like stem-cell-enriched injection and stem cell therapy only refer to the stem cell treatment itself. In combination with a follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant for example, Estetik International uses the term Organic Hair Transplantation® to refer to the procedure as a whole (injection + FUE hair transplant). Other terms such as stem cell hair transplant may also be used by various doctors. Remember, if you’re interested in a treatment package but are unsure of the specific procedures involved then contact your Qunomedical Patient Manager. They will be happy to assist you and clarify exactly what your treatment package contains.
What Are the Benefits of a Stem Cell Hair Transplant?
The role of stem cells for hair loss fundamentally relies on the cells’ ability to regenerate tissue. Simply put, a stem-cell-enriched injection is a method to prepare the recipient area before a hair transplant. Below, we’ve listed some of the main benefits of this treatment.
Regenerates and rejuvenates: A stem cell hair transplant boosts the efficiency, quality, and health of the recipient area, whereas traditional methods help to regain lost hair but don’t improve the overall health of the patient’s head.
Increased nutrition: A boost in the health and efficiency of the head also then leads to increased nutrition of the hair roots. This in turn gives transplanted grafts a higher success rate, allows follicles to be thicker, and effectively helps to decrease the chances of future hair loss.
Avoids chemicals: Since the fat mixture that’s used in stem-cell-enriched injection comes from the patient's own body, there’s no need to use any chemical mixtures that can potentially cause harm to the scalp tissue.
Reduced recovery time: Patients who undergo a stem cell hair transplant tend to experience a quicker recovery process than those who undertake more traditional methods.
Stem Cell Hair Transplant Results and Success Rates
According to the data provided by Dr. Cihantimur and his team Estetik International, stem cell hair transplants have a success rate of 96%. This success rate is in accordance with enhancing the effects of a traditional FUE hair transplant. Following the procedure, the donor area usually begins to heal after around 3-4 days, with new hair typically beginning to grow within the first three months after surgery. Full results typically appear after 12 months, however, for some patients it can take up to 18 months for the final results to show.
Why Should I Get a Stem-Cell-Enriched Injection With My Hair Transplant?
As previously mentioned, a stem-cell-enriched injection helps to make your scalp healthier and more efficient, thus providing a better basis for the transplanted grafts. Stem cell therapy is already applied in various medical fields with promising results and stem-cell-enriched injections use the advantages of this therapy to obtain the best possible results in a hair transplant.
Which Clinics and Doctors Offer the Treatment?
At Qunomedical, our team can help you to find high-quality and fairly priced doctors who offer stem cell hair transplants. As we mentioned earlier, Estetik International in Istanbul has developed the method of employing a stem-cell-enriched injection prior to a FUE hair transplant. Since founding the clinic in 1999, Dr. Bülent Cihantimur, MD and his team have received outstanding reviews from patients, thanks to their professionalism, honesty, and reliability. The team at Estetik International are constantly striving to combine proven techniques with innovative methods in the field of aesthetic surgery.
At Qunomedical, we will only ever provide you with information about doctors who have been thoroughly vetted. We use our unique, proprietary scoring system, Qunoscore, to evaluate doctors and clinics based on 21 different data points. This allows us to ensure that you will always receive high-quality care at an affordable price.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatments.