There are a few other therapies that may regrow hair although some are still in the experimental phase and require more research.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): This is a relatively new type of therapy that is being used as a tool to regenerate various parts of the body. It is used most prominently in the field of orthopedics as a nonsurgical treatment for various musculoskeletal ailments.
PRP is what’s left of the blood after the red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs) have been removed. Blood contains many components suspended in plasma. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are the major components. To make PRP, blood is drawn from the patient (when drawn from the patient the resultant PRP is called autologous PRP) and put through two sequential centrifugations. By spinning once to remove the red cells and then again to remove the white cells, a plasma that is rich in platelet cells is created—3 to 7 times as concentrated as in whole blood. PRP is rich in platelets and growth factors that are involved in normal wound healing. This is where the theory comes from that PRP may help heal various musculoskeletal problems. There is some very preliminary research that PRP injected into the scalp may regrow hair in some people. However, the studies done were very small and not the kind of large double blind placebo controlled studies that are needed for good evidence of efficacy of this treatment. At this time, there is not enough evidence at this point to fully answer the question of what place, if any, PRP has in the treatment of alopecia.
- Laser therapy (LLLT): The Low Level Laser Device (LLLT) is an FDA approved device. Several devices have been developed that apply low level laser beams to the scalp. The side effect rate is low. The procedure requires the wearing of a cap or use of a comb-like device to apply low level laser therapy (LLLT) to the scalp daily or several times each week. Though few studies have been done, the results have been encouraging if not overwhelming in terms of hair growth. In one study, men and women used LLLT and in both groups hair growth was shown to be statistically significant if slight. The study used real devices compared to sham devices and the photographic results were interpreted by investigators who did not know the origins of the photographs.
Hair regrowth was identified after 26 weeks and patients who had the real therapy “reported overall improvement of hair loss condition and thickness and fullness of hair in self-assessment, compared with sham-treated subjects.”
- Hair Transplantation: Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that moves hair from one place on the scalp to another. While the hairs on the front and top of the head are lost with androgenic alopecia, the hairs on the back and side of the head are preserved, to some degree, even into old age. For that reason, hairs moved from the sides of the scalp to the bald spots of MPB provide a long lasting, if expensive, solution.
There are two major ways to perform the procedure: FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation).
- FUE: FUE transplants are the gold standard. Single follicles are removed one unit at a time with a fine surgical tool. These single units of hair are painstakingly placed in tiny cuts that are made in the bald area to reproduce a natural pattern of hair growth. The cuts will also reproduce the normal direction the recipients hair would flow.
FUT: With FUT surgery, a strip of hair is shaved from the donor area and then under magnification sliced into tiny donor follicles. Clearly, this isn’t as fine a process. However, there is a great savings in time (and cost), though the recovery can be more prolonged and difficult compared to FUE. Once the hairs are divided, the same process is followed as with FUE, which means the results can be equally refined.