Stem Cells May Be the Future of Hair Restoration
Researchers have successfully used transplanted stem cells to grow hair - but don't call for your appointment just yet. So far, it's only been done with mice.
In experiments at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, researchers attempting to heal damaged skin cells by transplanting embryonic stem cells discovered that the process caused hair follicles to develop and to produce hair.
Human Application Years Away
Researchers have cautioned that it may be as long as ten years before their findings might be applied to regenerating human hair.
A technique that may produce results sooner is hair cloning for transplanting. The current procedure is to remove hair follicles from a part of the scalp where they are healthy and implant them in areas where follicles are no longer productive. With cloning, only a few donor follicles would be harvested, then cloned to produce the number of follicles needed.
As recently as two years ago, estimates were that the use of cloning as a hair replacement method might be nearly as far in the future as stem cells. With rapid advances in the cloning field, some researchers now think there may be significant progress in just over two years.
Today's Techniques Produce Natural Results
Even without the promise of stem cells and cloning, hair restoration has made major advances in just a few years, especially in the area of microsurgery. Originally, doctors relocated patches of skin containing several healthy hair follicles. The results were far from natural-looking. Today, single follicles can be transplanted and can be spaced to simulate the natural variation in hair density, which increases from the hairline inward.
If hair loss is adversely affecting your life, you owe it to yourself to schedule a consultation with an experienced hair replacement surgeon. While research may eventually lead to new methods of hair restoration, today's techniques are already offering great results. Why wait?
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