What Is Hair Follicle Banking and Is It for Me?
7th September 2021
For those concerned about hair loss, finding new solutions and planning for the future is extremely important.
And thankfully, scientists at Farjo Hair Institute and HairClone are in the process of creating a ground-breaking new treatment for rejuvenation and eventually regeneration, allowing you to ‘stop the clock’ on thinning hairlines.
Although the treatment is still under clinical development, those interested are now able to start banking their hair follicles through cryopreservation – a process that preserves the hair follicles by cooling the samples to very low temperatures – in preparation for its launch.
While the banking itself is not a treatment for hair loss, it allows you to save the precious raw material needed (i.e., your hair follicles) for carrying out the treatment as soon as it is up and running.
Why should I bank my hair follicles?
Just like other cells in the body, hair-making cells deteriorate in quality with age. Banking hair follicles at the earliest opportunity pauses the cells ageing process, meaning you have the freshest, highest quality cells for any future treatments.
Patients who bank their follicles will be undergoing the first stage of the process and will be the first patients to be offered the option of the new cell treatment once it becomes available.
The banked follicles will also remain your property, so if you feel there is a more suitable therapy at any time, your cryopreserved follicles will be made available for your use.
What is involved in hair follicle banking?
Our surgeons will extract over one hundred hair follicles from the back of your head while you are under local anaesthetic. This can be done as part of a hair transplant or during a stand-alone simple surgical procedure, taking under an hour to complete.
The follicles will then be placed in a solution that keeps cells alive, and then transferred to the HairClone laboratory within the Farjo Hair Institute.
Here the follicles will be cryopreserved using a state-of-the-art controlled-rate tissue freezer and then transported in a specially designed, refrigerated box and stored at -180°C in a licensed UK cell bank. At these temperatures, it has been shown cells can be kept for many years.
What happens next?
Once the new rejuvenation treatment is made available, which is likely to be over the next 1-2 years, patients who banked their hair will be the first in line to schedule their procedure.
This is where a small number of banked follicles will be carefully thawed, multiplied (i.e., cloned) and implanted into the scalp via injection.
Who is this treatment for?
The first treatment available will be for men and women whose hairs have thinned (i.e., miniaturised) rather than those dealing with clear baldness. The aim is to rebuild and rejuvenate recently miniaturised hair follicles and re-create thicker hair shafts.
This treatment can be repeated when necessary to rejuvenate additional miniaturising hairs, allowing a consistent appearance, so that hair loss is never noticeable.
In the future, Farjo Hair Institute and HairClone also hope to provide treatment for patients with extensive hair loss, where the hair follicles have miniaturised too much to be rejuvenated, enabling the creation of brand-new hairs. But unfortunately, this treatment will take considerably longer to develop.
If you have concerns about hair loss or would like to enquire about hair follicle banking, feel free to book a consultation with a member of our team.