September 25, 2016
2 min read

Cell-enriched fat may represent alternative for treating pattern hair loss

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LOS ANGELES — Stromal vascular fraction-enhanced adipose transplantation to the scalp may represent a promising alternative to treating androgenetic alopecia in men and women, according to research presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting.

“Hair restoration represents a huge opportunity that right now is being overlooked by most plastic surgeons because hair loss is something that is treated with medication or with grafts,” Joel A. Aronowitz, MD, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, told, following his presentation. “And that doesn’t fit into most plastic surgeons’ practices, in my experience.”

Joel A. Aronowitz, MD

Joel A. Aronowitz

“Fat grafting with or without stem cells may turn out to be an effective treatment for hair loss,” he said.

“It represents an opportunity for incorporation of hair restoration in a plastic surgery practice if results of our study and others demonstrate rigorous evidence that fat grafting and fat grafting with stem cells result in improved hair regrowth.”

An ongoing phase 2 FDA-approved STYLE 6-month study sponsored by Kerastem conducted by Aronowitz and colleagues has enrolled 70 patients with pattern hair loss at four sites. Early results demonstrate a significant improvement and a very low morbidity for grafting fat in the scalp, Aronowitz said.

The study is being conducted based on the success of a preliminary study in Europe that enrolled nine patients (eight men and one woman) with pattern hair loss.

In the preliminary study also sponsored Kerastem, lipoaspirate harvested from each patient was separated with one portion being purified by the Puregraft system (Puregraft), and the other portion was digested to obtain concentrated stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells. The patients were treated by autologous fat transplantation, utilizing the gathered SVF by injection into the affected areas of the scalp, according to the researchers.

A trichoscan analysis at 6 months, with three patients lost to follow-up, revealed an average 14% increase in hair count compared with baseline (P = .01), or a mean difference of 28 hairs. In addition, the researchers observed a 34% average increase in the anagen percentage. At 6 months’ follow-up, individuals with Grade I-IV hair loss (n = 5) showed an average increase in hair count of 17% (P = .02), which translated into a mean difference of 30 hairs.

“Fat grafting is a promising alternative to hair grafts and medication for male and female hair restoration,” Aronowitz said.

Aronowitz expects results of the STYLE study to be released by early to mid-2017.  by Talitha Bennett and Bruce Thiel

Disclosure: Aronowitz reports no relevant financial disclosures.


Aronowitz JA, et al. Stromal Vascular Fraction Enhanced Adipose Transplantation in Hair Loss: Early Experience & Active Phase II FDA Investigation. Presented at: Plastic Surgery The Meeting; Sept. 23-27, 2016; Los Angeles.