The Future of Hair Transplants

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As long as people have gone bald, there has been the wish to do something to counter their hair loss.
In the past, this has resulted in many snake oil remedies that never did anything useful.
It is only recently that their have been a number of solutions available to remedy hair loss.
Currently, the most powerful options we have at our disposal, are: 1.
Finasteride.
A relatively cheap drug that slows down hair loss and makes thinning hairs thicker.
2.
Hair transplants.
Fairly expensive, invasive methods of restoring hair to bald areas.
In hair transplants, a strip of donor hair from the back of your head is dissected and the hair follicles that result from it are relocated, or transplanted, to the balding area.
This procedure takes hours and the price tag is high enough that most people have to save up or take out a loan to get a hair transplant.
Hair transplants have gotten cheaper and less invasive in the recent years.
The quality of hair transplants has also gone up.
But still, there is much, much room for improvement.
For years now, there has been research into cheaper, faster and less invasive methods of restoring people's hair.
Multiple companies/researches are looking into methods that are referred with names such as hair cloning, hair multiplication, follicular neogenesis, cell based hair regeneration therapy, etc.
Two examples of companies that invest heavily in these methods are Intercytex and Aderans.
Intercytex seems to take the lead, predicting it will have its hair regeneration therapy on the market within five years.
This prediction is realistic, given that "Phase II trials" have successfully been completed.
In biotechnology research, there are three such phases, where a technology-in-development is tested 'in the field'.
In other words: on real people.
Two out of three phases have already been completed.
Things are looking up.
These methods of hair regeneration work by taking a few cells from the individual that wishes to regrow hair.
These cells are then processed and cultured.
The resulting cells are injected back into the patient's head.
In this spot, hair will begin to grow.
Some future methods will likely work by creating completely new follicles.
Other methods could possibly revive hair follicles that have gone dormant as a result of the natural balding process.
At the moment of writing, December 2008, these therapies are not yet commercially available.
The only way you could get your hands on it, is to volunteer to be a test subject.
However, the near future of hair restoration looks bright.
These therapies are not at all invasive, because no strip excavation is necessary.
Also, the therapies are less labor intensive and are likely to be much cheaper than conventional hair transplants.
So any balding person right now has the option of waiting for the new therapies to arrive, possibly prolonging his remaining hair through the use of finasteride.
In the case that you want to do something about your hair situation right now, you are still pretty much limited to a conventional hair transplant.
Note that there are also hair transplants available where no strip is ever excavated from the back of your head.
In this case, the doctor will painstakingly, one by one, take a few hair follicles and implant them into your balding areas.
These types of hair transplants are less common than regular hair transplants and are more labor intensive.
For this reason, they are also much more expensive.
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