Will Recent Advances in Hair Science Put Hair Transplant Clinics Out of Business?
Hair transplant clinics have been experiencing a tremendous rise in popularity and patient numbers in recent years, which is mainly due to improvements in the hair surgery techniques they use. Today's hair transplants can give you a completely natural look, particularly thanks to the advent of follicular unit extraction technology. But all hair transplantation techniques face one constraint - a limited supply of donor hair. The maximum number of grafts that can be transplanted is, depending on the individual's hair density in the donor area, between 10,000 and 12,000, which numbers about 20,000 - 24,000 hairs. A full head of hair is about 100,000 hairs. But there is the possibility that this weakness could be finally overcome in the not too distant future. The easiest solution to this problem would be a pill or a topical solution but, despite significant advances in the development of novel medicinal drugs and promising genetic research into telomeres, the ultimate oral or topical cure for baldness is not expected to emerge within the next ten years. However, there are some promising technologies that might become commercially available within about six to seven years.
Hair multiplication is one of them. It is often referred to as hair cloning or follicular neogenesis. It consists of the culturing and multiplying of cells that come from hair follicles which have been extracted from the donor area at the back of the head and injecting these cultivated dermal papilla cells into the bald scalp where they are expected to induce new hair growth. The second promising line of development involves generating new hair follicles in wounds of hair-free skin. Both of these methods might be good for generating new hair follicles in bald areas but they may not be so good when it comes to controlling the thickness and the shade of newly-grown hair and the direction of its growth. Therefore, seeding follicle implants into the frontal area of the scalp will probably remain necessary. In addition, both of these new techniques are expected to be performed at hair transplant clinics. Although some hair transplant surgeons may sound sceptical when it comes to commenting on recent advances in these new techniques, they might, in the future, become their greatest providers, as the popularity of hair surgery gets a further boost due to the unlimited supply of donor hair. The benefit to the consumer, besides the unlimited supply of donor hair, should be that the quality should correspond to the best that hair surgery technology has to offer today but at a lower price.