Hair Transplant Blog - The Knudsen Clinic: Treatment for Baldness
In recent years there has been an explosion of “low cost” hair transplant clinics offering large procedures at very low cost. This is partly the result of “cosmetic medical tourism” in low-cost countries but also due to unscrupulous business people entering the field and minimising, if not eliminating, the role of the doctor.
Stories abound of people travelling overseas and only briefly seeing the doctor for the administration of the local anaesthetic prior to the procedure. The doctor is then never seen again!
What this means is that the whole procedure is carried out by “surgical assistants” whose training or qualifications are never stated. Indeed, most of these assistants have no nursing background and may be performing illegal actions by cutting the patient’s skin. In addition, to save cost, there are clinics that have multiple patients being operated on in the same room! This is highly unsafe as cross contamination is highly likely. As well, some of the results coming from these clinics are very poor in both design and execution.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (www.ishrs.org) has taken the lead role in publicising the dangers posed by this non-medical model of rogue clinics and the authorities are starting to act in some jurisdictions with criminal charges being brought against clinic owners allowing illegal performance of hair transplantation by non-medical personnel in their clinics.
The ideal model, which is practised in the Knudsen Clinics, is to have both the consultation and the surgical procedure performed by the doctor. Only the doctor is allowed to cut the skin. Only the doctor is allowed to make the surgical plan. The assistants are there to assist the doctor. Even the ARTAS robot is controlled by the doctor in our Sydney Clinic.
One of the reasons the cosmetic tourist model exists is because patients confuse the difference between a product (the hair transplant) and the service (the performance of the hair transplant). The result is going to depend upon the skill of the doctor (and his assistants). Make sure a doctor is going to be the person performing the hair transplant.
There has been a lot of publicity in recent times about a possible new treatment for hair loss (of any cause) that is called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). This is argued to be a “stimulation” therapy for hair loss. The theory is that the multiple skin growth factors that live inside platelets (the blood cells responsible for clotting) can be utilised to stimulate hair by “cracking open” the platelets after the patient’s own blood has been centrifuged (spun down). These growth factors are then re-injected into the scalp in areas of thinning hair.
The idea has been around for a while but the evidence for hair stimulation has not been strong. We do know that PRP is helpful with wound healing but it is less clear which thinning patients might benefit. One of the problems is that the technique has no stringent set of rules and different centrifuges produce different results. Current research is directed at assessing whether higher concentrations of growth factors produce a stronger stimulating effect on weakened hairs.
Another possible line of research involves combing PRP with an extracellular matrix product that acts as a scaffold to assist the effect of the growth factors. Further research is needed in this area.
At best, current evidence is inconclusive that PRP is as effective as other stimulatory products such as minoxidil or techniques such as low level laser therapy.
Hair transplant surgery restores healthy hair to the upper scalp, says hair loss specialist Dr Russell Knudsen.
Read more about Treating Mens Hair Loss
Are generic prescription drugs as effective for the treatment of hair loss as the original ones?
In recent years generic versions of finasteride and minoxidil have come into the marketplace. Generics appear when the patent period (typically 15 years) expires for the original company that process/markets a new drug. They are often made in the same facility as the original drug but are generally made by a respected manufacturer in a certified facility. It is worth noting that purchasing generics from overseas manufacturers does not always offer this protection.
The attractive feature of generics is their price as it is usually significantly lower. This reflects the fact that they did not do the original research which is very expensive. Generally speaking, the generics are well produced with equivalent effectiveness compared to the original. Compounding chemists also make variations on original products but the addition of other ingredients is not necessarily helpful.
Many minoxidil hair loss treatment lotions add ingredients such as azelaic acid and retinoic acid. There is NO evidence this increases the effectiveness of minoxidil. Indeed, there is NO evidence that any strength of minoxidil greater than 5% adds to effectiveness.
The FSP Hair Loss Program trial that was conducted at the Knudsen Hair Transplantation Clinic in Sydney’s Double Bay. It was supervised by noted hair transplantation surgeon Dr. Russell Knudsen.
Read more about the FSP Hair Loss Program
Much confusion surrounds the difference between topical hair loss products (applied directly to the scalp) and internal products (taken by mouth). They both can be effective in managing hair loss but are NOT equivalent when trying to block the male hormone DHT.
DHT is produced in both hair follicle and the liver. If a topical product is aimed at the scalp hair follicle it will likely be less effective than oral blocking as the liver supplies DHT directly to the follicle via the blood. This is why finasteride needs to be taken orally to give the best effect.
In men with male pattern balding the oral use of blockers (e.g. finasteride) has proven to be far superior to the use of topical stimulants (e.g. minoxidil or laser). That said they can be successfully used together to produce even better results as they act in different areas.
For male pattern balding, effective therapy begins with a medical doctor
There are many causes of hair loss, everything from genetics to diet have been identified as contributors. For anyone who realises they are suffering, one of the first reactions can be to run out and grab as many over the counter shampoos and conditioners that are marketed to us these days. These however do not offer much help for male or female hair loss at all. When they don’t see any improvement, the next step is to investigate the more clinical kinds of treatment available, such as various chemical treatments, hair transplant surgery and Low-Level Laser Therapy, also known as LLLT. Laser hair treatment is becoming more popular due to being non-invasive and the lack of adverse side effects, which can be an issue with many of the chemical treatments available. It is also cost effective as an ongoing treatment.
However, many laser hair treatments require the user to comb the laser through their hair for a quarter of an hour or more per session, at least 3 times a week. The problem here is that it is a little too random in terms of application for continued success. It also tends to become a burden on the user as 15 minutes combing through their hair quickly becomes a tedious process, discouraging continued treatment.
An alternative to these kinds of laser treatment is the innovative LaserCap™, a portable device that can be worn under a hat, and is therefore better able to regulate the proper amount of laser treatment for a given condition. In the case of thinning hair, especially in its early stages where the LaserCap™ performs best, the amount of laser treatment applied is critical, with 30 minute sessions 3 times a week proving to be the most effective. The nature of the LaserCap™ makes this, unlike other kinds of applicators, easy for the user to accomplish. Because the cap itself means that the treatment can be better controlled, the LaserCap™ is the most powerful Laser treatment tool on the market, whilst being one of the easiest to use. With no side effects there is no need to worry when deciding to give LaserCap™ treatment a try.
LLLT in general and the LaserCap™ in particular are particularly beneficial to the end user as they are clean and painless. In addition, the LaserCap™ takes up relatively little time, with no adverse effects and can prove to be significantly more economical than other forms of hair loss treatment, and represents an avenue of hair loss treatment well worth investigating.
Not true. At the end of the hairs growing cycle, the follicle separates from the skin and waits for something to tug it out. Usually this is either washing or brushing the hair.
People suffering from thinning hair and hair shedding often assume it is linked to washing and brushing and reduce the frequency of washing /brushing. This reduction can paradoxically appear to increase shedding as you can actually save up to a few days of normal hair shedding (50 – 100 hairs per day on average). My advice is to continue washing and brushing 2 – 3 times a week.