At the recent hair transplant surgery meeting in Orlando, Orlando Live Surgery Workshop, there was a lot of talk about all of the new non surgical methods of hair restoration. In short, we have a long way to go.
As far as PRP, while most surgeons are seeing benefits, the best technique has still not been determined. Some surgeons recommend Acell with PRP, others do not.
Some surgeons recommend microneedling at the time of treatment, others do not. Some recommend spinning the product multiple times, others just once. There does seem to be agreement, however, that patients really need a series of treatments to see real results and that response is highly variable.
Light therapy is another area of continued controversy. Many of the laser light companies were there pushing for their device. Some recommend LEDs, others true laser devices. Some recommend a comb device, others a cap. How much use, what energy levels, and who is a good candidate are all up for debate. While these are promising devices for those who are not candidates for a hair transplant or who are looking for maintenance therapy, we still have still have a lot to learn.
One new area of nonsurgical treatment that is exciting is microblading. We now offer this at our office for those who have thinning or no eyebrow hair. We will soon be offering it for those who are interested in scalp treatments. This technique allows the placement of a semi-permanent tattoo that visually mimics real hair or hair follicles. The results are impressively natural and a great option for some.
All agreed that what continues to be the most proven and beneficial non surgical treatments for hair loss are finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine). These are both FDA approved, have excellent long term studies showing benefit, and (despite what you may read on the internet regarding Propecia) have an excellent safety profile. Finasteride has the impressive ability to claim that 9 out of 10 men that take their medication will no longer lose hair (if not have significant regrowth). For those with a strong family history of hair loss, this is a must to consider. While minoxidil has more subtle benefits, it can be used in women as well as men and has a proven track record.
Finally all surgeons were in agreement that hair transplantation remains the most predictable and effective treatment for hair loss. All other options should be considered for prevention and maintenance, or for those who just are not candidates for a transplant.