Losing your hair may not be a life or death situation, but for the person who’s hair is falling out it can certainly feel like it. Fortunately, the medical community has made significant advances in hair growth stimulation and restoration. In Pasadena, Dr. Gordon Sasaki’s Advanced Aesthetic Medical Center has been treating hair loss since 1985.
“Alopecia (hair loss) can be caused by many factors, from genetics to the environment,” Sasaki explains. “Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), another name for male or female pattern baldness, is by far the most common form of hair loss. The frequency of AGA increases with age, even though it may start at puberty.” In addition to surgical hair transplantation, current strategies for the treatment of AGA are limited to the use of FDA-approved topical Rogaine (male/female) or oral Finasteride (male) alone or in combination. Medical science, however, is busy working on more efficacious alternatives.
Sasaki says nonsurgical hair stimulation and restoration of hair loss (alopecia) is receiving intense patient interest and scientific scrutiny. Hair itself has few physical functions, he notes. Those include defense against the effects of UV radiation, suppression of heat loss, and tactile sensation. Scalp hair, however, also completes the body self-image, and its loss may cause psychosocial embarrassment and lack of self-esteem.
Most recently, attention has focused on the use of concentrated blood platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that store more than 30 growth factors within their granules. The growth factors are believed to trigger pathways that stimulate hair growth, reduce hair resting (time when the follicle is inactive) and miniaturization (where hair shrinks over time), and to increase vascularization (blood flow). While the FDA has cleared automated devices for PRP preparation, there is not yet any FDA-approved indication for PRP use for hair growth. Nevertheless, Sasaki sees great promise.
Sasaki is a founding member of the Scientific Hair Advisory Board and Aesthetic Stem Cell Society. An Institutional Review Board study is being conducted on the safety and efficacy of PRP-induced hair growth in his patients. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and is completed within 30 minutes. To date, results suggest that PRP has a positive therapeutic effect on male and female pattern hair loss without major side effects. With Sasaki and others are working to improve and refine these techniques, the promise of complete hair restoration continues to, well, grow.
Gordon H. Sasaki, MD, FACS
Clinical Professor, Plastic Surgery
800 S. Fairmont Ave., Ste. 319