Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The future for hair loss surgery

Between 2006 and 2008 there has been a 12% rise in the number of surgical hair restoration procedures worldwide. Since 2008 that number has grown hugely, especially since the revelations of Wayne Rooney.

There are always new and innovative hair loss techniques and products on the market, but are these safe and how do they work?

The new chairman of the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ASHRS), Dr. Marco Barusco, gives his opinion on some of the latest and upcoming technological advances in this field.

HypoThermosol™ is a saline solution used to preserve the hair once it has been removed from the back of the head. According to Dr. Barusco, once the donor hair is taken from the back of the head the clock starts ticking. "The quicker we re-attach the hair to the scalp the better the chance it will survive", Dr. Barusco said. Traditionally, surgeons have used regular saline solution to preserve the tissue, but HypoThermosol™ has been showing to have a better composition for preservation.

ACell™ is used for wound healing and hair growth. It is rich in growth factors and collagen. This technology significantly benefits the patient but given its high cost very few surgeons use this material. When a doctor uses ACell™ the donor area of the scalp heals better, leaving a smaller and thinner scar, and the transplants grow better.

Although much buzz has been given to robotic hair transplant surgery, Dr. Barusco does not see it as a revolution but rather as another tool. The idea behind the robotic surgery is that a robot harvests hair automatically from the patient's donor area. The doctor and the team still need to perform the rest of the procedure.

Although not yet available, Dr. Barusco believes that the most important technological advance to come is the use of stem cells to "clone" hairs. This is a technology that should be available in the next few years and it is currently on phase II trials. Dr. Barusco believes that this technology will give people who previously weren't candidates for hair transplant because they lacked enough donor hair, the opportunity to have the surgery since less hair needs to be harvested.

Dr. Barusco is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), a member of the Board of Directors & Examiner of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS), and Chief Section Editor for Hair Restoration of The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery (AJCS).  

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