Innovation in Chronic Wound Healing
A new study on hair transplant in chronic wound healing brings new hope for many patients who suffer from non-healing or delayed healing wounds. The study was conducted by my friend Dr. Francisco Jiménez in Spain. In this research, Dr. Jiménez and his colleague evaluate the effect of hair transplant grafts on improved healing of chronic wounds.
The study is based on the fact that epidermal sheets from the hair follicle may help in re-epithelialization of the wound bed. The investigators reported that healing of chronic wounds progresses faster in skin where healthy hair follicles exist.
This may be explained by the fact that hair follicles are full of progenitor cells (cells that can transform to other types). In this study 10 patients with chronic wounds (ulcers) of about 36 cm2. Most wounds were present without complete healing for about 10 years. The researchers implanted 20 hair grafts in an area of 2×2 centimeter. They also used a similar square of non grafted area as control.
After evaluation of the wound in those two areas it was readily apparent that the area receiving hair implants healed much faster at the 18-week end point. In this particular case the transplanted area of wound (ulcer) healed significantly better than non transplanted area (27.1% vs. 6.5% ulcer area reduction). The maximum healing has been noted to be 33.5% vs. 9.7% (transplanted vs. control group) reduction at week four. In further microscopic evaluation, the investigators noted an increase in several wound healing elements such as epithelialization, neovascularization, and dermal reorganization.
This study demonstrates the amazing role of hair follicle grafting into wound that do not heal normally due to a variety of different causes. The process of transplanting the wound with hair grafts can be done as an outpatient procedure. This new procedure could improve the life style of many people while reducing the financial burden of treating chronic wounds for the society.
Jiménez F et al. A pilot clinical study of hair grafting in chronic leg ulcers, Wound Repair Regen. 2012 Nov-Dec;20(6):806-14