Latest from Dr Reza Mia
Alopecia is a condition that affects people of all races and genders. There are numerous methods available to patients suffering with hair loss including medications, auto-transplantations, injectable treatment and topical treatment, amongst others. Now, for the first time in South Africa, artificial biocompatible hair implants are to be made widely available, thanks to “Anti-Aging Art”.
Biofibre can be used to address diffuse hair loss, thinning hair and receding hair lines. There are patients who have healthy scalps, but for some or other reason have a poor donor area, making traditional auto-transplantation difficult or impossible. Biofibre may also be implanted following a traditional transplantation, should patients desire more volume.
African patients face a unique combination of problems. African hair is very difficult to transplant because the curvature of the hair extends into the root, this makes it challenging to dissect the follicles out of the skin without damaging the follicles. Once the follicles are damaged the hair will not grow. Unfortunately, given the popularity of weaves, wigs and dreadlocks, these patients are more likely to suffer from traction alopecia. Biofibre may be used to treat this problem at both ends, it may be implanted after the alopecia has set in, or to prevent the alopecia by replacing the existing methods of hair “augmentation” and lengthening. That is, patients may use biofibre to mimic the effect produced by wigs and extensions without losing their own hair.
Previous attempts at artificial hair implantation were not met with much success, primarily due to rejection by the patients’ skin, these synthetic fibers made of materials such as monacrylic, polyacrylic and polyester. In contract, Biofibre is a polyamide fibre which is far more inert and is similar to the material used by some dermal filler companies.
The fibres fulfill international medical device safety and bio-compatibility standards and come in 21 colours in various shapes and grades of curliness.
Biofibre will not grow like transplants from patients’ own hair, so it is important that patients make their hair dressers aware of the location and presence of the Biofibre implants. The fibres, once implanted, resemble real hair even upon close inspection, however there are several advantages to traditional implantation. There is very little downtime and patients are able to return to work the following day without any signs of having had a procedure done. With traditional transplants, the transplanted hairs will fall out and then regrow over a period of fourteen months. With biofibre, the result is instant and the fibre is implanted at the desired length, of up to 45cm. Small top up sessions should be performed once a year to replace falling fibres, which fall out at between ten and twenty percent per year.
These fibres will not age or discolor, but they may be intentionally colored using hair dye or styled as real hair would, provided they are not heated to above 65 degrees Celsius.
Patients are generally given the chance to grow their own hair by using shampoos and supplements designed to reverse hair loss and promote hair growth. If this is not enough, platelet rich plasma is injected into the scalp to promote hair growth through the platelet derived growth factors which also reduce the resting phase of the hair follicles. This is alternated with Hyalual injectables which also stimulate hair growth by stimulating the mitochondria of the follicles. When it comes to male pattern balding, Botulinum toxin is injected to reduce the sweating through the scalp which contributes to hair loss. This is all directed at the patients own hair. But, if these methods are not enough, transplantation is performed but as mentioned, if this is undesirable, this is when Biofibre artificial implants would be inserted into the scalp. Should patients present as obvious cases where the methods described above would not work, then Biofibre may be used as a first line treatment.
A specially produced injector device with a unique needle is used to implant the Biofibre strands, one at a time, into the patients scalp following injections with local anesthetic to numb the area. The fibres include a knot which is inserted into the connective tissue of the scalp, where fibrosis ensures that the implants remain in place. After care is important to ensure a successful result and each patient is given clear instructions and products to take home with them.
Biofibre is available from Anti-Aging Art, based in Houghton and will be supplied to doctors once they have completed the mandatory training sessions. The company may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 011 483 0881 or 010 023 0034.
Biofibre is already available to patients seeking the treatment and patients may book consultations using the same contact information.
Dr Mia is the owner and director of the company importing the Biofibre implants and devices into South Africa.
All images are courtesy of Medicap Biofibre.