Stem Cells & Fat Transfer For Hair Loss
Stem cells for hair loss is an innovative approach to help treat hair loss for hair loss as a result of aging. Many hair cells and their respective centers (termed the dermal papillae) are preprogrammed to reach an older age and die. This type of hair loss is one of the three main types of hair loss. Stem cells can help prevent and encourage hair to avoid permanent hair loss.
The most stem cell rich areas in the body included fat, bone marrow and even directly from blood. The fat is our favorite area as it is relatively pain free to harvest and inject and is richer in stem cells than the bone marrow. Studies have shown that fat injected into a specific layer of the scalp can help improve hair regeneration including growth and thickness of the hair follicle. Stem cells work by their direct effect and as well as indirect signals termed paracrine signaling with growth factors.
DEEP DIVE ON STEM CELL HAIR LOSS
There are a few paths for hair loss (aka alopecia) to occur. One main pathway is for hair to go to the preprogrammed pathway called senescence. Senescence is when cells are programmed to get old and die. For hair, this can often result in hair turning gray, thinner, and then falling out. This pathway is distinct but overlaps with the hormonal pathways (such as DHT) and stress which can also affect hair.
Fixing hair loss as a result of aging at first seems like a difficult problem since we are all getting older. However, analysis of the problem reveals that there are several potential ways of mitigating hair loss by a variety of approaches. One such approach involves the transfer of stem cell (or stem cell rich cells) to the hair area to help boost hair growth.
DATA TO SUPPORT FAT AND ADIPOSE DERIVED STEM CELLS FOR HAIR LOSS
1. The use of fat cells injected into the scalp to increase hair growth. Authors found that hair trichoscopy (using Trichograms which is a type of quantitative software) found increased density and diameter of hair cells as well as improvement in the pull test.1
2. Authors found that adipose derived stem cells could lead to increased hair density.2
3. Stem cells found to improve resistance to hair loss.3
Adipose derived stem cells are still not completely approved by the FDA. Adipose tissue has been found to be highly rich in stem cells and do not need to be cultured and reinjected to have an effect. In addition, fat cells can be harvested easily in our office in most patients with little to no downtime and very little discomfort at the hair site. While stem cell treatments are not the only prong in hair growth, they can be used in conjunction with PRP, exosomes, topical retinol (high concentration), DHT blockers and low level laser therapy. Preventing hair loss and encouraging hair growth can be an alternative to hair transplant as well as work in tandem with hair transplant procedures.
1. Nilforoushzadeh MA, Lotfi E, Heidari-Kharaji M, Torkamaniha E, Hanifnia AR. Autologous whole fat injection stimulates hair growth in resistant Androgenetic Alopecia: Report of nine cases. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Aug;20(8):2480-2485. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13907. Epub 2020 Dec 28. PMID: 33355975.
2. Zanzottera, F., Lavezzari, E., Trovato, L., Icardi, A. and Graziano, A. (2014) Adipose Derived Stem Cells and Growth Factors Applied on Hair Transplantation. Follow-Up of Clinical Outcome. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 4, 268-274. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2014.44036.
3. Elmaadawi IH, Mohamed BM, Ibrahim ZAS, Abdou SM, El Attar YA, Youssef A, Shamloula MM, Taha A, Metwally HG, El Afandy MM, Salem ML. Stem cell therapy as a novel therapeutic intervention for resistant cases of alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia. J Dermatolog Treat. 2018 Aug;29(5):431-440. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2016.1227419. Epub 2018 Mar 6. PMID: 27553744.