How Effective is Stem Cell Therapy for Your Scalp Combined with Hair Grafts? (photo)

I have been taking propecia for a few years which has helped with my hair loss. Now, at 35, I have been looking into actual grafts. I am considering getting 2,200 grafts to the crown and middle and back of my scalp, along with this new stem cell therapy. I was wondering how effective the 2 are together, or is it something you would start with the stem cell therapy and see how that takes and then do the grafts? I was sold that its like fertilizer and more effective when combined. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 10

Stem cells

I'm unaware of any real use of using just stem cells for hair growth.  Medications like Rogaine and Propecia do work, and of course hair transplantation is perhaps the best tool.  I prefer FUE using NeoGraft to avoid a linear scar.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Stem cell therapy for hair restoration

Evidence based medicine with hundreds of patients are the best methods to verify if something works.  Propecia, rogaine, transplants have that.  Stem cell therapy is still very novel.  it may work, but the data behind it is not as solid yet.  You can read at pubmed about this in detail. 

Rashid M. Rashid, PhD, MD
Houston Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Stem cell treatment for hair loss?

Stem cell treatment for hair loss? I know of no evidence to support the use of stem cells for hair transplantation. Choose another surgeon who is experienced for the best results

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

PRP with Hair transplantation is better

PRP which is Platelet rich plasma is a relatively new treatment for hair loss. It seems to be most effective when the thinning is new and there are still hair follicles to stimulate. When the hair loss has already progressed to the point that there are "bald" areas, PRP is less effective and is not going to be enough. A recently published study showed that the combination of doing PRP at the time of hair transplant improved the final outcome and the hair that was transplanted is more more quickly. I hope this helps! 

J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2016 Jul-Sep;9(3):157-164.

Dr. Quenby Erickson

Quenby Erickson, DO, FAAD, FACMS
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Stem cells for hair loss? You gotta be joking!

Dear Sean,

Stem cell therapy is so loosely used to market any treatment these days that it has lost all credibility. Currently there is no evidence of hair growth using stem cells. There have been some experimental studies on animals using dermal papilla cells but human trials have not yet begun.

What was probably sold to you in garb of stem cell therapy was PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections which carries growth factors (chiefly epithelial growth factors) that are supposed to help hair growth. Currently, there are very few studies that support this therapy, but yes, it can be likened to a fertiliser for transplant.

Many surgeons including myself, inject PRP at the time of transplant if the patient requests for it. The blood for PRP is collected from the oozing incision sites made for implanting the grafts. In this way, no additional blood needs to be drawn for therapy. 

At the end of the day you must understand that auxiliary or alternate therapies are just that. A good transplant would give you assured and lasting results. BTW, you need hair in the hairline, frontal and temple area; not in the crown and back.

Best Regards

Sharad Mishra, MS, MCh
India Plastic Surgeon

Saving and thickening your existing thinning hair can be done with our treatment before you consider a hair transplant

Thank you for your question. You’re 35-years-old and after being on finasteride for several years, you’re finally considering having a hair transplant of 2200 grafts, combined with stem cell therapy. You’re wondering about the effectivity of the two combined treatments and are asking for opinions on the matter.

I can certainly help you with this, as I frequently perform hair transplants and use a wound-healing or stem cell-based technology in my practice. I am the founder of Trichostem™ Hair Regeneration centers, which offer a non-surgical alternative solution to hair loss, based on stem cell-based wound healing technology. I am alsoa Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, practicing in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years.

To begin with, let me say that hair transplants are very labor intensive, and for years, one of the biggest frustrations with hair transplantswas the limitation of the number of grafts you can harvest, and the survivability of the grafts once they are transplanted. In a 2200-graft hair transplant, for example, you are essentially making 2200 openings in the scalp, and unfortunately, you may lose anywhere from 10% to 90% of those grafts. We have seen this in patients who’ve had “mega sessions” elsewhere and come to us for assistance after they’ve lost a lot of hair. 

Now, the term “stem cell therapy” is too broad a term, and does not specifically tell mewhat way or what modality stem cell therapy is being applied in your situation. I can tell you, however, what we do in our practice.
We use a wound-healing material called extracellular matrix, which promotes the activation of adult stem cells.These are stem cells in your own body that create an effect to improve wound healing. We use this in hair transplants to improve donor area healing and improve survivability of hair grafts. What we discovered is that it could also thicken existing thinning hair.

In your case, you’ve been taking finasteride, but your hair loss is still progressing – this does happen sinceit is well established that finasteride slows, but does not stop hair loss progression. It also appears that you still have thinning hair on the crown area of your scalp. It underreported in the hair transplant industry that when you make 2200 openings in a balding area of scalp,there is going to be a certain percentage of native, miniaturized hairs that will get lost in the process from trauma of the transplant. This is known as collateral loss. It’s a compromise that’s often justified because transplant doctors know that those thinning hairs will be lost eventually anyway.

Now, in our practice, we’ve developed a treatment called Hair Regeneration. What we’ve observed is that with this treatment, we are able to stop hair loss progression in existing thinning hairs, reactivate the hair growth cycle, and help thinning hairs become thicker. By saving and thickening thinning hair you already have, we are able to more effectively restore volume and density in comparison to a hair transplant. In fact, our results with Hair Regeneration have exceeded the results of a hair transplant.

What we do in our practice is first stabilize hair loss progression with the help of Hair Regeneration, even before considering a hair transplant. Our results have been so remarkable that after one injection, we are able to stop hair loss progression, without any signs of regression, for at least 3-5 years.

It’s important to remember that stabilization of hair loss is a crucial part of hair loss treatment, without which you cannot effectively treat hair loss. In our experience, we’ve observed that the combination of finasteride with Hair Regeneration has been synergistic. I think there is value in understanding the role of stem therapy before moving forward with surgery.I don’t know exactly what your doctor is offering so I can’t speak specifically about it, but I can tell you that based on your photos, if someone like yourself were to come to our practice, we would first treat them with Hair Regeneration. This is not to say that you don’t need or shouldn’t have a hair transplant, but rather that based on our experience in treating our patients,we actually don’t see the need to offer transplantation first, and instead find that addressing hair loss with Hair Regeneration is just as effective.

I recommend that you speak with your doctor and learn more about stem cell therapy – what it means, how it work, and what the expectations are.

I hope that was helpful and I wish you the best of luck!
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Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Growth Factor Proteins Stimulate Hair Follicle Stem Cells

There are some studies published by Histogen showing that growth factor proteins injected into the scalp of balding men results in stimulation of hair follicle stem cells which can increase hair growth. When these same growth factors are used as a storage media for hair follicles being transplanted, there has been shown to be increased hair growth beyond the number of follicles transplanted. I am fortunate to be working with Histogen on both of these projects and they both appear to be very successful without any adverse reactions. Visiting a board-certified dermatologist with a special knowledge in hair loss will be able to give you the best idea on what may work for your unique case.

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Stem cells & Hair transplant

Dear Sean, there is NO medical / scientific evidence which supports the role of stem cells in hair growth in general, either prior to, or following hair transplants. Your comment about being"sold like fertilizer" is bang on.

Do continue with Minoxidil & Propecia as together, they will help both pre & post op.

Sameer Karkhanis, MS, DNB
India Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

There is no such thing as Stem Cell therapy for hair loss. It is sometimes used to describe treatments such as PRP but it is no

There is no such thing as Stem Cell therapy for hair loss. It is sometimes used to describe treatments such as PRP but it is not actual "stem cell" therapy.  

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Stem cells post trtansplant

Unless you are obtaining stem cells from your fat, you probably are referring to recombinant stem cells.  I am not aware of studies with  stem cells and hair growth. If you are referring to PRP and the platelets containing growth factors, it may assist growth in some cases after transplants.Thanks

Jeffrey Rapaport, MD
Englewood Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

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