Listen Now to Radio Interview & Podcast with Dr Barry Lycka & Dr Alan Bauman on “Inside Cosmetic Surgery Today” on WebTalkRadio.net. Today’s topics Hair Loss in Women, New Hair Regrowth Treatments, PRP, Laser Therapy, LaserCap Clinical Trial, and more…
Transcript & Show Notes:
Dr Barry Lycka cosmetic dermatologist from Edmonton, Alberta is talking today with
Dr Alan Bauman hair transplant surgeon and hair restoration specialist from Boca Raton, Florida
Today we are going to talk about hair loss. There will be some of you listening that have a lot of hair loss and are probably wondering what you can do about it. You look in the mirror and wonder. Your mother, or brother or other family member might have experienced hair loss and you are wondering if you are going to end up looking like they did. So we are talking today with Dr Alan Bauman, one of the world’s premiere hair loss experts, and we are going to be talking about some of the new treatments in 2015 for this.
Welcome, Dr Bauman!
We love having Dr Bauman on the show as he really has a forte and a passion for hair – don’t you, Alan?
No doubt – Dr Bauman and his staff have a great time helping out their patients to look good and feel great by restoring their own living and growing hair. What’s bad about that?
When people are worried about their hair loss – that is the driving factor behind this, isn’t it?
Absolutely and one of the fastest growing parts of Dr Bauman’s practice are patients in the early stages of hair loss who are looking to do something about their hair thinning problems. Maybe they are just seeing the signs, maybe they are seeing more shedding, loss of volume, loss of color, but they are in the very early stages, and Dr Bauman has a whole host of new treatments available for them.
Is it true if you jump into hair loss earlier, that the results are often better?
Well there is no doubt about that, Barry. If we can protect the function of the hair follicles before they literally wither away and die, then you are going to end up with a thicker, fuller, healthier head of hair*. There are lots of ways to do that non-invasively, non-surgically, to really medically manage the problem of hereditary hair loss. That is the main thing that we treat.
Let’s go through that, because there are some really phenomenal advances in treatments for hair loss.
One big advance that has come out over the last several years is something called low level laser therapy. It is a low energy laser that really stimulates hair growth. The lasers that Dr Lycka uses are high powered lasers that are trying to destroy or ablate something – for example to destroy blood vessels, and to destroy hair so that it doesn’t come back again!
Please can you tell us a little about the low level laser therapy you are using, Dr Bauman?
Well believe it or not, low level laser therapy has been around since the 1960s! A lot of it goes back to some testing done by Dr Endre Mester in Hungary when he did some testing on the backs of lab rats when he looked to see if low level laser energy caused cancer. He wounded the rats and treated them with the low level laser light, and he found that it actually improved wound healing and it accelerated hair growth. Over the years lasers have become less expensive, more portable, and more powerful and we have really learned how to harness this non-chemical, non- invasive technology to help patients who are struggling with hair loss.
The questions we have is that we are using lights for all sorts of different things, and they come in all sorts of different colors – blues, greens, reds, yellows – is there any particular one that has been shown to be better than others?
What Dr Bauman has seen, and the clinical data supports this, is that the red wavelengths of light, the red visible spectrum, seem to be the best for treating skin conditions and also to improve hair growth, as well as wound healing.
Interesting! Now this might sound like a dumb question, but how do these things work?
For many years, even back in the 1990s when we first had these lasers in the office, and Dr Bauman was the biggest skeptic of them all, we didn’t think that the lasers could do anything, and we were certainly not taught about them at Medical School. So we didn’t really know what the mechanism was. But here we are, almost 20 years later, and we now know exactly how low level laser therapy works. We know that there is a photo receptive molecule in the mitochondrial membrane, which is where energy is made in every cell in the body. It takes the photons of light (the packets of energy) and essentially converts that into cellular energy. There are a lot of things that happen to cells when they get bombarded with this low intensity light at the proper wavelengths but the most important thing that Dr Bauman is looking for is improved hair growth. There is a ramp up in cellular energy which creates healthier, thicker stronger hair – if you are using the right wavelength, the right power, and the scalp is being treated with the correct frequency (timing) of these treatments.
So our listeners have probably seen ads for such devices as a laser hair comb and so forth, do those devices ever work?
Well those consumer devices are using the right technology but they are just using a very weak and difficult to use delivery system. So back in the day when we only had big, heavy laser hoods in the office, and big stand-alone devices, then the only option was a portable hand held comb-like laser. But today lasers come basically in the form of a baseball hat. So a powerful portable device like a laser cap can deliver a clinical dose of laser therapy right in the comfort of your own home, or in your car – anywhere you are.
How often do people need to treat themselves with these laser devices to get results?
What Dr Bauman has found over the past 15 years of using lasers, patients do the best on low level laser therapy if they treat with them every other day. There is good evidence to support that ‘every other day’ frequency not only in hair restoration but in wound healing, and other lab results. So we recommend every other day* with something like the laser cap.
How long do you recommend a treatment lasts?
Well that depends upon how powerful your laser is. If you have a laser that only has 3, 6 or 9 beams, then you may need to spend an hour with it to really treat all the areas of your scalp. But with the laser cap for example, which has over 200 diodes, the treatment regimen is 30 minutes. That is the same that is used in the office.
So let’s go over the laser cap – we have spoken about this before, but many listeners might not have heard about it.
The laser cap, in Dr Bauman’s opinion is the best laser to use for at home hair growth. This is because it is powerful, it is portable, it is cordless, and it is rechargeable. It is completely hands free – you don’t have to hold something over your head, and you don’t have to move it around the scalp, you can basically charge it up when you are not using it, and when you are ready to do the treatment, you wear it like a baseball cap and go about your business. You can walk on a treadmill, walk the dog, answer email, watch TV, rest in bed, there are so many things that you can do while you are getting your laser therapy treatment to pass the thirty minutes of time that you can easily forget that it is on. Theoretically if you are commuting to work more than 30 minutes, you could get the treatment in your car or the train! It is a powerful device, there are no moving parts, and it is very reliable. The diodes have a life of 11,000 hours. One of the things that Dr Bauman is excited about is being able to actually scientifically test it using hair counts and sophisticated science to test that they are really using it properly and getting the best results for patients.
Please tell us about the study Alan, as people will be interested in it.
The study is underway, right now they are on the female portion of the study and eventually they will get to the male patients as well. Patients will come in and as long as they meet certain criteria they will be measured in different areas of the scalp. We have to trim a small zone and photograph that with a high quality, high powered camera, and a small tattoo is also placed on the scalp so we can go back to the same zone again and again. The patients enrolled in the trial will receive a laser device – it may be an operating one, it may be a placebo (sham) device, they won’t know, and we won’t know, and they will use that device for 16 weeks, and then come back into the office and get re-measured and re-photographed. So that is it – it’s really simple. 2 visits, with a device to use over the 16 weeks, and when the 16 weeks is up, every patient in the clinical trial will be given their own, free laser cap to go home with.
Wow! This sounds pretty exciting! That is a three thousand dollar device!
Yes we are pretty excited about it – it’s an exciting time! Here at Bauman Medical we have been using laser therapy for more than a decade and a half and to be able to really test it and put this device through its paces is really exciting.
So how can people get more information on this study?
Anyone interested in seeing if they are a candidate for this kind of hair loss trial can go to the website specifically designed for the clinical trial www.844gethair.com and fill out some information and they will be contacted by the office to see if they are a candidate for a role in the laser cap clinical trial.
Let’s talk about a couple of other treatments too. Dr Lycka really likes Platelet Rich Plasma. It is something that has come from sports medicine a number of years ago, usually to inject into joints to help them heal. They use a person’s own blood plasma. Well more recently this has been used to help people with hair loss, and there have been some good double blind studies that have actually shown that this will work for hair loss.
PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma for hair regrowth is certainly working. It is an exciting non-invasive treatment and it is a procedure that literally takes less than an hour in the office, has no downtime, no recovery and most patients get a burst of hair growth from it, from that treatment that will last a year or two*. But that of course depends upon how the physician is using the PRP.
Are we talking about the same thing that people are using in joints or skin? Or are we talking about something else?
Well the basic part meaning taking the blood and spinning it under high speed to concentrate the platelets is basically the same. But, Dr Bauman adds extracellular matrix (ECM). There are a number of different ECM products, and they use the different ECM’s mixed with the PRP before it is injected into the scalp. Dr Bauman has found that certain extracellular matrix products make the PRP hair growth process last longer and be stronger.
That is important to realize that when doctors talk about PRP they are not all talking about the same thing! It is really a bit of a mistake for doctors to use one term that really covers so many different types of PRP.
Dr Bauman has been all around the world listening to lectures about stem cell therapy and PRP and hair regrowth and also for tissue rejuvenation and regeneration in all areas of the body. He is yet to find two physicians that do it exactly the same way. It’s like everyone has a different chocolate chip cookie recipe – unbelievable! Small chips, large chips, macadamia nuts, walnuts… so we are not going to get the same results are we?
Dr Bauman highlights that even the kits that are used can make a difference too. He has found that some of the kits make it more cumbersome to create the PRP in the office, some make it really simple to enable them to get to that pure concentrate, there are a variety of different centrifuges & kits available and Dr Bauman has settled on the YesPRP as a great treatment option.
More recently Dr Bauman, you have been doing something in addition to PRP called ‘photo treatment’ or photo therapy for hair loss. Please tell us about that?
Dr Bauman has been being doing photo therapy in addition to PRP, at the same time. So when a patient comes in for PRP then they use a low level laser device in the office to stimulate the scalp before and after the treatment. But there is a new device that has come out which enables them to photo activate the platelet rich plasma before it is injected into the scalp. There are a number of different studies out there and information about the benefits of that. One of the main benefits of photo activating the PRP is that is really ‘revs up’ the stem cells that are in the PRP in the red blood, and it also activates and causes a release of cytokines from the white blood. Studies also say that photo- activated PRP is less painful and even though there isn’t a lot of pain with Dr Bauman’s procedures (well there is none because we use local anesthesia) that is a big improvement for a lot of the guys using it in the orthopedic fields, injecting PRP into joints.
What do you do when you do photo-activation? Do you shine a light on the PRP first? Or is it a special type of light?
It’s actually a little box that has an opening for the syringe. It is inserted into the cylinder inside the box. The timer is set and inside the cylinder are lines with three different types of diodes, producing light in three different wavelengths. These are wavelengths that have been determined to have a biological effect on the PRP. It is exposed to the light for 10 minutes before it is used in the PRP injections. It might have extra cellular matrix in there too. So as you can see… the ‘recipe for the cookies’ is getting more complicated!
Yes it is but it’s the end result that we are really looking at. Which is our patient’s satisfaction and for people to grow their hair back.
Absolutely, and Dr Bauman highlights that a lot of physicians are not measuring their patients before they do the PRP and you have to measure scientifically because if you don’t do a hair check – which is a cross-sectional hair bundle measurement – then you won’t know exactly where the PRP is having the greatest effect. And therefore you also won’t know which areas it is NOT having an effect. So that is something that Dr Bauman does routinely with every single consultation and follow up. They measure the scalp in the same locations again and again and getting a scientific measurement of exactly how much hair the scalp is producing.
Dr Lycka comments that he thinks that that is very important. Measurement is important. Consistency of treatment is equally important. Listeners must be aware that different doctors are doing different things so there has to be a comfort level with your doctor.
If you don’t have confidence that your physician is prescribing the right treatment, or tracking your progress appropriately, or has the right skills, then you are not going to be 100% compliant with the treatment, or be fully bought into it. And compliance to the treatment is the number one factor which affects the results. Patients go to Dr Bauman all the time and talk about the different things they have tried, and that it didn’t work out for them, and what Dr Bauman finds out is that they often gave up too soon, were not compliant and gave up before the results were visible.
Dr Lycka has also known for a long time that the number one determinant of people’s success in cosmetic surgery is their choice of their cosmetic doctor. That is so true, Barry. As PRP proliferates there are more and more physicians out there who are treating hair loss and you want to ensure that they are well trained, and have experience, and have been through certifications like Dr Bauman – he is proud to be internationally board certified by the American and International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, one of only 100 doctors that have accomplished that level of certification. There are dermatologists all over South Florida who are performing PRP that aren’t taking a full inventory of hair loss risks and not measuring the scalp, and doing things in kind of a haphazard way and that is certainly NOT what Dr Bauman does. His practice is very detailed oriented when it comes to inventorying his patient’s risk factors, measuring how much hair they have and prescribing and recommending treatments and regimens that are going to work for them.
Are there any final words you would like to share with our listeners, Alan?
Well just circling back to what we said at the beginning – is that really early treatment is the best treatment, and if you have severe hair loss there certainly are a lot of treatments that can work for you but if you are just starting to see some thinning up there you might be surprised as to how much hair you have already lost when it comes down to the measuring. So time is of the essence when it comes to your hair, for sure. And since we don’t have a way to re-create hair follicles, the number just keeps dropping year after year and so you have to get on it to prevent future hair loss and use those treatments as prescribed!
Those are good words of advice, Dr Bauman. Thank You.
Contact details for Dr Alan Bauman & Dr Barry Lycka:
Dr Alan Bauman
Telephone: Boca Raton: (561) 394-0024 For the LaserCap Trial or Consultation
Dr Barry Lycka
Telephone: Edmonton: (780) 665 3546
Inside Cosmetic Surgery Today interview Dr Barry Lycka and Dr Alan Bauman, 09feb15
*Each individual's treatment and/or results may vary