Stem Cell Therapy Before Hair Transplant Surgery: How Does It Work?
Posted Jul 12, 2019
by Harriet Bouvain
Having an additional treatment like PRP or mesotherapy along with your hair transplant to help hair growth and speed up healing has become increasingly popular. So much so in fact, that many clinics offer packages combining the treatments.
Now, there is a new method available, which has been developed by Turkish surgeon Dr. Bülent Cihantimur at Estetik International: a stem-cell-enriched injection that relies on a form of stem cell therapy to boost the recipient area.
What are stem cells?
Before we dive into the explanation of how the treatment works, we first need to clarify what stem cells are. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, meaning they can develop into any kind of cell or tissue in your body. A distinction must be made between embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs).
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.
ASCs are the cells used in stem cell therapy. They are a bit more restricted in their ability to differentiate than ESCs, inasmuch as they can only form cell types found in the specific organ or tissue they have been taken from.
What is a stem-cell-enriched injection and how does it work?
Similar to PRP, a stem-cell-enriched injection uses the patient’s own body cells to increase the efficiency of the recipient area. Unlike PRP, however, the stem cells are injected before the actual hair transplant surgery, not afterwards.
Collecting the ASCs
The stem cells are taken from fat tissue from any part of the patient’s body - more precisely from subcutaneous adipose tissue, 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 is 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 scalp 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: the recipient area starts taking nourishment and begins regenerating.
Apart from the regenerative effect, the injection also causes the recipient area to swell. This helps to make the surgeon’s work easier and more comfortable, as it decreases the bleeding and makes the skin more rigid. That way, it is easier to make incisions without cutting hair follicles and it helps to avoid damage to the deeper blood vessels and nerves in the scalp. It also removes the need to use a chemical or saline solution normally applied before the surgery to increase scalp volume for the transplant 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 need to be fasting from the night before until the fat transfer is completed.
Do the different terms refer to different treatments?
Terms like stem-cell-enriched injection and stem cell therapy only refer to the stem cell treatment itself. In combination with a FUE hair transplant, Estetik International uses the term Organic Hair Transplantation® to refer to the procedure as a whole (injection + FUE hair transplant).
What are the benefits of a stem-cell-enriched injection?
Stem cell therapy 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 are some of its benefits:
It regenerates and rejuvenates the recipient area and increases its efficiency, quality and health (where traditional FUE only provides a limited benefit without improving the health and quality of the scalp).
This in turn leads to increased nutrition of the hair roots, an increase in viability of the implanted grafts and makes for a higher rate of living, thicker hair follicles, effectively decreasing hair loss.
It reduces recovery time after the hair transplant.
Since no chemical mixture has to be applied to dilate the scalp and the fat mixture is derived from the patient’s own body, no harm is caused to the scalp tissue.
What is the success rate of a stem-cell-enriched injection?
According to the data provided by Estetik International, an Organic Hair Transplantation® has a success rate of 96% in enhancing the effects of a traditional FUE hair transplant. The donor area starts healing in about 3 to 4 days and the new hair should start growing within the first 3 months after surgery.
Why should I get a stem-cell-enriched injection with my hair transplant?
As seen above, a stem-cell-enriched injection helps to make your scalp healthier, 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 offer the treatment?
Here at Qunomedical we have 2 partner clinics that provide a stem-cell-enriched injection with a hair transplant surgery.
Estetik International in Istanbul has developed the Organic Hair Transplantation® method, which employs the treatment described above prior to an FUE hair transplant. The clinic was founded by surgeon Dr. Bülent Cihantimur in 1999. He and his team have reached high satisfaction rates with clients and partners alike thanks to their professional and reliable way of operating and their constant strive to combining proven techniques with innovative ways in aesthetic surgery. If you would like to learn more about the clinic, visit our Estetik International Clinic Page.
Suzermed Clinic in Istanbul also provides the treatment in combination with a FUE hair transplant. The clinic and associated hospitals are equipped with the latest medical technologies, a team of dedicated professionals and a motto to provide the highest level of care and satisfaction for their patients. You can find out more about the clinic, the offered treatments and the doctors working at Suzermed on our Suzermed Clinic Page.
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The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatments.