ACell + PRP for Hair Loss Treatments are Not All the Same - Differences in Effectiveness
Thank you for your question. You're asking if ACell + PRP works and you mentioned some prices and you want to know if it's all the same. You describe some detail in your history with a single photo showing the part on the top of your head and you stated that Rogaine hasn't worked, spironolactone hasn't worked, and you describe some issues with some scalp tenderness and it seems like you're really at place where you're not sure what to do. I can certainly give you some perspective on your question. Just a little bit of background—I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon.
I’ve been practicing hair transplant surgery for over 20 years, and I'm also the founder of Trichostem Hair Regeneration centers, which is a company that we developed based on our work using extracellular matrix and platelet-rich plasma for hair loss. And at this point I think we have extensive experience with the use of ACell and PRP. So I think I can give you a little bit of perspective from the many patients we have treated from all around the world. So to begin with, understanding is first getting a correct diagnosis. We've been using this material for many years and we have three to five years of data to support the clinical basis for our treatment. To begin with, when you use terms like ACell + PRP, it's too generic because there is no true standardization as of yet, because there are a few people using these materials but there is variability between doctors on how they use the material. We know this from getting feedback from people who come to us who have described treatments done elsewhere. So that being said, I can answer the first question by saying that no, its not all the same.
There is a lot that went into our development over the years. So to explain how this evolved, then go further into your question, ACell was originally intended for the use to help hair transplants, at least in this field, for the hair transplants to heal better. It was a serendipitous conclusion or discovery I should say, that thinning hair started to become thicker, in addition to improving the outcomes on the donor area healing, the grafts taking, and then the appearance of thinning hair becoming thicker.
So over the course of several years, we developed a system based on all of the patients be treated—on how much material to use, how much PRP to use, how to make a PRP, which is drawn from your blood, and how to dose it and deliver it. So as you can see there are many variables, which is why there is going to be a lot of difference when you do research on who does what. Now, as a practicing cosmetic surgeon, I can tell you that when you're looking at cost, you have to look at value. When we discuss this option for our patients, we always describe in the context of how we do this treatment—how we follow our patients, and how we optimize the treatment, whether it's once or more than once, to maximize the results. Hair loss is unfortunately a progression, and depending on your progression, timing can be extremely important. Now that being said, with your medical history where you describe Rogaine and spironolactone, and spironolactone with the intention of diminishing the effects of testosterone on your hair follicles, that hasn't worked. Well first of all, we have to identify which hair conditions respond best to this treatment, what we call Hair Regeneration, Trichostem Hair Regeneration. And it's our conclusion that male pattern hair loss, from our experience, more than 99% of men respond and see improvement which we can document with standardized digital photography and microscope photography.
With women, it is above 80%. When you think about the statistics, that is very significant, when you realize the limitations of what is available. For men, you can use finasteride and minoxidil, and for women, there's minoxidil. Beyond that there really aren't many options. For men, once their hair is lost there is hair transplant. Women tend to be more diffusely thin, and therefore hair transplant is rarely a good option because, something that is not very well known is the fact that, when a hair transplant is performed, there is often collateral hair loss because the hairs that are sitting are very close together, which means that you may transplant one thick hair but lose three or four thin hairs. What that ultimately translates into is less coverage than what was originally hoped for.
So I would say that first when you think about your diagnosis you need to first confirm it. The description of tenderness and redness and other things sounds more like a folliculitis or an inflammatory condition or something other than pattern hair loss. Now it could be that the symptoms are related to the use of Rogaine, which can happen, but understanding that male and female pattern hair loss is the ideal candidate, now that's in contrast to people who have alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, sclerosing or scarring conditions, we have statistics on those patients, but when you think about just the realities, 95% of hair loss is genetic pattern hair loss. Now when there is a question on our minds when we see our patients, we do biopsies. We’ll take several samples of hair and skin from small areas and send it to a pathology lab to determine the diagnosis. But I would say that for female pattern hair loss, this is a treatment worth exploring but finding the right provider or physician who really has a handle and experience is critically important.
As I mentioned earlier, we treat patients from around the world we have a lot of knowledge and experience on how to perform this treatment to optimize the result. And it has been a great help for people who have hair loss, and in particular a large group of women with female pattern hair loss. In fact we’re treating women in their twenties and thirties who have female pattern hair loss and we're getting very good results, that's in contrast or distinction from typically women who are in their forties and fifties who are typically seen as having normal genetic pattern hair loss. Women in their twenties and thirties is not considered as common but we're treating a lot of people.
Of course male pattern hair loss we've been very successful with. In fact, just to give you perspective in the way people have responded, we've seen that the coverage that we can get in the right candidate for male pattern hair loss can actually exceed the results of two hair transplants and that is saying a lot. The dynamics is very straightforward. As opposed to transplanting hair that is limited to the limited donor area, and getting only so many hairs to cover an area, when you thicken existing thinning hair, you get a lot more coverage. It's that straightforward.
So I recommend that you learn more. The last thing you should ever do is shop on price, and this applies to anything in life. As a veteran cosmetic surgeon for over 20 years, I can tell you that many people have gone cheap and have live to regret it and what you want to do is just be sure of experience and quality and then you'll understand how a doctor arrives at a price for something. When something is cheap it is usually worth less than what is being charged. So when you are doing your research and identifying a medical doctor or a physician to perform your ACell + PRP, then understand that if you are shopping price, cheap is usually exactly that, you're not going to get the value that you're looking for. So with that being said, look for the right type of doctor who you feel has the amount of experience and is willing to stand behind the work and take care of you longer than just the time that you go for the treatment. So I hope that was helpful and I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for your question.
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