Positive results could last years, but is it better than micro-wounding?
In our most recent post, we reported on progress being made by Follica, which is exploring an alternative to hair transplant surgery they call, “targeted scalp disruption.” Along those same lines, a recent study from Zagazig University’s Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Andrology in Egypt examined the effectiveness of monofilament thread therapy combined with and minoxidil.
The study, “Accelerated hair growth by combining thread monofilament and minoxidil in female androgenetic alopecia,” published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, looks specifically at how female patients responded to the therapy, which involves inserting tiny threads into the scalp that over time are safely absorbed just as a suture would.
As described by study authors, Dr. Fathia Khattab and Dr. Hagar Bessar, the purpose of the therapy is to stimulate the body’s natural response to small wounds, which researchers have found enhances expression of hair-related genes, releases growth factors that regulate cell growth and division, and activates stem cells in the hair bulge area.
Just like Follica’s current clinical trials, this study explored whether the effects of minoxidil – one of only two medical treatments approved by the FDA – can be improved by disturbing the scalp. A total of 27 women were involved, with some undergoing a 6-month regimen of minoxidil treatments and some getting monofilament thread therapy in combination with minoxidil.
The results were impressive, with 93 percent of patients in the group that were treated with monofilament thread therapy combined with minoxidil showing improvement. Only 52 percent of women who received only the minoxidil treatment showed improvement. Drs. Khattab and Bessar reported that hair density, hair thickness and hair appearance were all better among patients who underwent monofilament thread therapy.
These study findings are somewhat similar to a much smaller 2017 study out of India, “Scalp threading with polydioxanone monofilament threads: a novel, effective and safe modality for hair restoration.” Published by the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, authors studied five patients. Here’s their description of the procedure:
“Monofilament Polydioxanone threads (30 mm long) were inserted into the scalp under topical anesthesia and sterile precautions. The threads were inserted in the intradermal plane, attempting to pass the thread through the maximum possible length per needle. Multiple needles were inserted at 1 cm spacing in a radial orientation. The total number of needles inserted ranged from 20 to 40 per scalp.”
Unlike the more recent study from Egypt, this one apparently did not combine the treatment with minoxidil. Nonetheless, the results were positive. At 12 weeks, all patients had increases in hair count.
One of the conceivable advantages of this type of therapy is that there are minimal safety concerns with insertions of the threads. Some cosmetic surgeons have been using similar approaches for years as a minimally invasive alternative to various surgical procedures. So-called ‘thread lifts’ are described as a middle ground between fillers and surgery. In February, Cosmopolitan featured an article titled, “Thread Lifts, aka Non-Surgical Brow Lifts, Are Taking Over Instagram.” The FDA has approved the use of several types of monofilament thread for these procedures.
One downside of these procedures is that they are not permanent. Over time, the threads themselves are absorbed into the body and the stimulating effect they have will lessen. Ultimately, the effect of the procedure will go away completely. Researchers reported that they believe the effects could last as long as two years, but as far as we are aware that is merely an estimate.
As others have noted, it would be very interesting to see how Follica’s much less complicated process of micro-wounding stacks up against the insertion of monofilament thread. At this time, Arocha Hair Restoration continues to watch developments in monofilament thread therapy closely.
Note: All research and clinical material published by the Arocha Hair Restoration website is for your general informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. This website cannot, and is not intended to, replace the relationship that you have with your health care professional. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider.