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Fat injection therapy offers hope for reversing baldness

The innovative approach of using fat injections for hair loss treatment is gaining attention in the medical community. 

A recent scientific review led by the Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) has highlighted the potential benefits of fat injections for combating various types of alopecia, including scarring alopecia and common male pattern baldness.

Study significance 

“Alopecia may decrease patients’ quality of life and self-confidence by limiting their social life. Therefore, the main goal of the treatment is to limit or halt the progression of inflammation, scarring, and hair loss,” wrote the study authors. 

“The promising effect of fat injection on hair regrowth, limited adverse effects, and subsiding inflammation can be proof of its efficacy and safety in treating alopecia.”

Focus of the study

The technique involves extracting adipose tissue, commonly from the patient’s thighs, and then injecting approximately 20ml of this fatty tissue into the scalp at three-month intervals. 

This process was applied to a study group comprising four men with male pattern baldness and five women. The results, which were observed six months post-treatment, were promising. 

Key insights 

Patients experienced a significant increase in hair thickness, as evidenced by denser hair and thicker individual strands. Additionally, the “hair-pull test” indicated a reduction in hair loss.

The researchers examined ten case reports and studies focusing on fat injections for hair loss. The team concluded that this treatment method effectively controls scalp inflammation, which is crucial in enhancing hair density and diameter. 

The experts noted that adipose tissue is a rich stem cell source, which could be key to inducing hair regrowth.

Fatty tissue

The role of fatty tissue in hair regeneration is linked to its production of “growth factors.” These molecules are believed to combat inflammation, thus protecting hair follicles from damage. 

The injection technique, already popular in cosmetic surgery for facial rejuvenation, has demonstrated minimal and non-serious side effects, such as temporary bruising and mild pain post-treatment.

Study implications

The researchers emphasized the novelty and potential effectiveness of “autologous adipose tissue transfer” in treating hair loss and alopecia. This method stands out among existing treatments, such as hair transplants and microneedling, which have their limitations. 

Given the significant impact of hair loss on patients’ quality of life, the experts emphasize the need for new and effective treatments.

More about alopecia 

Alopecia refers to hair loss, which can occur in various forms and affect people of all ages and genders. It’s not just a cosmetic issue but can have profound psychological impacts due to its effect on appearance and self-esteem.

Androgenetic alopecia

The most common type is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness. This type is largely genetic and involves a patterned thinning of hair. 

In men, it often starts with a receding hairline and thinning at the crown, while in women, it usually presents as overall thinning without a receding hairline.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, leading to patchy hair loss. In severe cases, it can progress to complete scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or even loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis).

Scarring alopecias

Scarring alopecias, such as lichen planopilaris and frontal fibrosing alopecia, involve inflammation that destroys the hair follicle, leading to permanent hair loss. These are often more challenging to treat due to the irreversible nature of follicular damage.

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is caused by prolonged tension on the hair, often due to certain hairstyles like tight braids or ponytails. It is preventable and treatable if recognized early.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a temporary form of hair loss often triggered by stress, illness, hormonal changes, or medications. It usually manifests as a diffuse thinning of hair across the scalp.


Treatment for alopecia varies depending on the type and severity. It can range from medications like minoxidil and finasteride for pattern baldness, corticosteroids for alopecia areata, to more advanced therapies such as hair transplant surgery. 

Emerging treatments, such as the fat injections described in the IUMS study, show promise in offering new hope to those affected by this condition.

The study is published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

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