According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of 50 more than 85 percent of men will suffer from some degree of the genetic hair loss known as Androgenic Alopecia, or male pattern baldness. While there is currently no cure for MPB, researchers have spent decades developing treatments for this frustrating condition. From topical solutions like Minoxidil to surgical procedures like hair transplant ‘plugs,’ these costly and often painful procedures have another downside: they don’t always work. But now, researchers at the Maitland Clinic in Marylebone, London have developed a new procedure that could help regrow hair and tone up your abs at the same time.
The procedure involves removing fat cells from the body, usually from the abdomen, and injecting them into the area of the scalp where hair loss is prevalent. Dr. Bruce Chau is a plastic surgeon in Berkeley, Michigan who is not involved in the study but who can see how this new procedure may be beneficial for some.
“The procedure works by taking fat out of one area of the body, just as you would with liposuction,” explained Chau. “Then the fat cells are combined with stem cells and injected back into the scalp. It becomes kind of a ‘two birds with one stone’ procedure, because you are performing liposuction on the patient to regenerate the hair growth.”
Chau believes the Maitland Clinic uses the patient’s own stem cells, which can be harvested from the same abdominal fat removed during the initial phase of the procedure. Once the enhanced fat has been injected back into the scalp, the results have been undeniable.
“The six initial patients treated in the study all regrew hair at an increased rate of 23 percent per square-inch in the first month, and saw their hair’s growth phase increase by up to 93 percent in that same time,” said Chau.
Though the procedure is still in its infancy, Chau believes once it has completed wider trials, it could be done right in your local plastic surgeon’s office.
“Not all plastic surgeons do hair transplant procedures, but because this treatment involves liposuction it seems like it would be an easy procedure for plastic surgeons to add to their practice,” said Chau. “This could really help make the procedure more accessible to patients who don’t live near a hair restoration clinic.”
Best of all, the procedure seems less invasive than hair transplant procedures, which means patients could undergo treatment without missing work or making it obvious they are undergoing treatment, something which deters some patients from seeking current hair transplant methods.
“Hair loss can be a very embarrassing problem for both men and women,” Chau said. “Most patients don’t like to call attention to the fact that they are losing hair or that they’re trying to regrow hair. This procedure could make an enormous difference for those patients.”