A 21-year-old male has only a rim of hair left. He wants to know that are the options for him.
Dr. Amiya Prasad explains that this young man is suffering from a condition called male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness. It is a progressive loss of hair due to the hair follicle becoming less able to generate a thick hair. This is caused by a chemical called DHT or dihydrotestosterone that affects genetically susceptible hair follicles. In a normal hair growth cycle, it goes from anagen which is the growing phase, to telogen, the sleeping phase, then goes back to anagen again. However, DHT disrupts the growth of the hairs so it results in smaller and thinner hairs.
In addition, a group from University of Pennsylvania was able to show that a particular cell called the progenitor cell, that originates from the middle part of the hair follicle, is responsible for the re-growth of new hair. However, men who are balding did not produce a specific protein for the progenitor cells that was responsible for hair growth.
To treat hair loss, there are two FDA approved drugs in the United States: finasteride which is a pill and Minoxidil which is a solution or a foam. Finasteride is effective in reducing DHT and can slow down progression of hair loss, which is also called androgenic alopecia. However, a successful and different concept that Dr. Prasad uses in his practice in approaching hair loss is called Hair Regeneration. This is based on wound healing and stem cell regeneration in an injection that combines a material called extracellular matrix made by ACell (ECM) and part of your own blood called platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This injection is placed at the cellular level to protect the hair follicles.
As a clinician, Dr. Prasad thinks that the better way is to protect dermal papilla where the hair follicles come from and save the remaining hairs with the use of the ECM + PRP injection. So before a transplant, he does a test injection and sees how the patient’s hairs respond to it. He has seen that a lot of his patients have benefited from the injection and observed that it is able to reverse thinning hair in 99% of his male patients and 70% of his female patients.
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