Author: Elbert T. Cheng, MD
As we discussed earlier this month, hair loss impacts both men and women at various ages and for a slew of different causes, but the most common one being male or female pattern baldness. No matter what the cause of thinning hair may be for you, there is hope in the many options that are available today. Let’s explore some of the most available treatments for thinning hair and see what plan might be right for you.
Minoxidil was first approved in 1988 to treat androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss). The drug was originally prescribed in oral form to treat high blood pressure. After noticing unexpected hair growth in patients, the drug was trialed topically to treat hair loss. When these FDA trials proved successful, the drug was approved by the FDA for this use.
Using Minoxidil can put a stop to hair loss from male pattern baldness once it has started, and it may even stimulate new hair growth. It works best when started as soon as hair thinning is noticed and must be used continuously to maintain the results. Results in men are further enhanced when Minoxidil is used with an oral prescription medication called Propecia.
Minoxidil is the only drug which is FDA-approved to treat female pattern baldness. It may prolong the growth phase of the hair follicle to slow down or stop hair loss; and up to a quarter of women using Minoxidil actually experience new hair growth. Its results in women are further enhanced with the use of the oral medication Sprinololactone.
While weaker forms of Minoxidil are available over the counter, studies show that higher concentrations of Minoxidil are much more effective and show results sooner. In our office, we dispense a men’s and women’s topical prescription formulation of Minoxidil. We also combine the topical prescription medication with oral prescription drugs (Propecia for men and Spironolactone for women) to maximize results.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections have been around for decades, helping athletes to heal from sports-related injuries. The benefits of PRP are now being used to rejuvenate the skin and hair in a gradual fashion. PRP treatments offer an additional, non-invasive weapon in our arsenal against hair loss and thinning.
Platelet Rich Plasma is a concentration of platelets which circulate through the blood and are involved in the clotting process. Rich in growth factors, PRP activates and rejuvenates cells in your body by promoting healing and stimulating tissue growth and collagen formation. PRP can induce a remodeling of the tissue to a healthier and younger state, and we are now discovering this includes hair. Over the last several years, a growing number of physicians have been utilizing it for hair loss with great success.
During this procedure, a small amount of your blood is drawn, the same way blood is taken for routine blood testing. The blood sample is spun in a centrifuge to produce the Platelet Rich Plasma, separating this “liquid gold” from the red and white blood cells. We can introduce PRP to the scalp via microneedling in completely hairless scalp. In areas of thinning, utilizing injections of PRP into the scalp may improve the hair’s quality and quantity.
PRP for hair rejuvenation works best when performed as a series of treatments. We recommend four treatments once per month as the initial treatment and single treatments four months apart for maintenance. Of course, patients see the fastest and best results when they combine PRP treatments with oral and topical treatments.
Over the last several decades, the single greatest advancement in hair restoration surgery is the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique. Prior to the FUE technique, the traditional way to transplant hair was harvesting a long strip of hair from the back of the scalp or temples, cutting individual groupings of hair by a team of hair technicians, and implanting them into the scalp.
We offer the NeoGraft® FUE system in our office. It eliminates the need to cut a long strip of scalp hair and allows us to individually harvest one or more hair follicles directly from the back of the scalp and, almost immediately, transplant them back into the hair deficient scalp. It avoids long, painful, wide scars in the back or sides of the scalp, which results in a faster recovery and less discomfort after the procedure. In addition, there is no linear scaring with the NeoGraft® FUE technique.
Expectations and goals with any treatment or procedure are important to review during a private consultation. The most important concept to accept about hair loss is that the original density and number of hairs in the scalp will not be replaced. The goal and expectation of hair transplantation is to create the illusion of increased hair density on the scalp and to build self-confidence and self-esteem for the individual with hair loss.
Typically, patients will see the transplanted follicles grow in 3 months after transplantation. Sometimes it can be sooner, and sometimes it can take longer. NeoGraft® transplantation normally has a very good survival rate for hair follicles. Anywhere from 70% to 80% of the transplanted hairs will grow and thrive.
With these effective and affordable options available, there is simply no reason to suffer with hair loss or thinning. There is so much that can be done to help! Call the Center for Facial and Body Rejuvenation today to schedule a complimentary, private consultation to determine the best hair rejuvenation treatments for you.
Disclaimer: The content within this site is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or specific medical advice. The products and claims made about specific products and treatments through this article have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Please consult with a NeoGraft® Certified Physician or other healthcare professionals regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis.
Elbert T. Cheng, MD has been in practice for over 16 years. His top priority is always to achieve a natural look through the safest possible surgical procedure or office based treatment. With thousands of surgeries and procedures performed, he recognizes the importance of the partnership between the physician, staff, and patient in achieving his patient’s goals. Towards this end, Dr. Elbert T. Cheng and his wonderful staff will support you at every step of your journey towards revitalizing yourself – a journey where the conclusion of a procedure does not mark its end, but its beginning.
Dr. Elbert T. Cheng was raised in Mountain View and attended Stanford for his undergraduate studies. He graduated with honors, achieving a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He traveled to England and undertook research and additional studies at Oxford University. Upon completing his Medical Degree at Duke University, he returned to Stanford University for residency in Head and Neck Surgery. After five years of this intense training, he traveled to Indianapolis for one additional year of focused study with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. After fellowship, he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dr. Elbert T. Cheng is passionate about many things in his life, and his wife and children are at the top of the list. He is a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the California Society of Facial Plastic Surgery, and the Santa Clara County Medical Society. Dr. Elbert T. Cheng is a recognized expert in his field and lectures internationally to other physicians.
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