Hair loss is a medical problem. Do you have a crop of experts specialised in hair loss treatment and surgery in your company?
Yes. We have well-trained medical teams who do the treatments including Nigerian trained experts are capable and carry out the procedures here.
Can you tell us some of the medical procedures you do in the process of restoring hair loss?
You need to be well trained and well experienced in hair loss restoration because there are different types of alopecia. And without the proper diagnosis of a particular type of hair loss or alopecia you could end up prescribing the wrong treatment options for the persons and that will not meet expectation or resolve the problem. The treatment also extends to beards, eyebrows, etc.
So you need to be an expert ; there is a certain level of experience needed apart from the study to be able to ask pertinent questions during consultation to know what caused the particular alopecia the person is experiencing.
By so doing 95 percent of the time you are able to narrow down the particular type of alopecia you are dealing with, and that would give you enough confidence to on what to recommend as a treatment option.
What are the common types of hair loss that your organisation has been dealing with?
Like I said earlier, we have several types of alopecia but the commonest ones we tend to see in clinics, especially in Africa and maybe all over the world, are really the genetic forms of hair loss called androgenic alopecia found in men with receding hairlines. This is also what is popularly called bald hair.
Women also have androgenic alopecia but the pattern of theirs is diffused so the hair loss is in the middle part of the scalp and goes sideways whereas for men it goes backwards.
The other most common type of alopecia we come across is traction alopecia which results basically from practices in the hair salon. Women usually go to the salon and the type of repetitive hair styles they do, the more they damage those follicle roots over a period of time, and it gets to a point when the follicles start dying off. That is why you see some African women with this type of hair loss.
So traction hair loss also results from the way women fix hair. People use certain types of glue to fix the hair to make it look natural, and could cause frontal hair loss for women.
Other types of alopecia are alopecia areata which is sometimes a medically-induced form of hair loss. When someone has an underlying medical condition it can cause it. They can wake up to see patches of hair on their hair and Africans can typically allude spiritual meaning to it. It is simply a medical condition.
There is also another more insidious type of alopecia called cicatricial alopecia which results from bad reaction to chemical relaxers. There is another type of alopecia which covers the whole body, called alopecia universalis. It is a medical condition usually linked to autoimmune disease like lupus.
Some women suffer hair loss when they undergo chemotherapy. How does Vinci help such kinds of hair loss?
One of the side effects of chemotherapy is loss of hair, but it is not hair loss. This might sound strange. The reason is very simple. When you are going through chemotherapy, you lose your hair fibres. Your follicles don’t die , it is the fires that dies off so your follicles are still healthy, once you stop that chemotherapy those follicles start producing hair again. So it is not hair loss it just one of the side effects. That is why you see cancer patients with hair after they stop the treatment.
When people are born without any hair on their head, there is a belief that all hope is lost. you are changing that now with innovative hair transplants, tell us how you help in this regard?
Hair transplant is a procedure whereby we take donor follicles from the healthy part of the scalp which is usually at the back or the sides. Most people suffering from androgenic alopecia tend to have hair loss at the middle of the scalp. That is where the enzymes affects and kill the follicles off.
So when we do hair transplant surgery, we take follicles from the healthy part of the scalp which is not affected by the enzymes. Those follicles are surgically implanted in the areas where we want to see the hair growth. So you’re the self-donor of the follicles moved from one part to the other.
This does not mean the area where the follicles are taken from will be without hair, because new cells will develop in the area and the hair will grow where we took door follicles. The main thing is, the area where you suffer hair loss will now start producing hair.
What happens when the person does not have healthy enzymes at all?
Remember I mentioned alopecia totalis or universalis, meaning you have no hair at all on your scalp or your body. This situation presents a challenge for hair transplant because you can only take the donor follicles from the cell but if a person doesn’t have the donor follicles from the cell, the common question is can you take from one person and give to another person? Yes, medically it is possible but ethically it is not right. This is because medically you follow the same procedure of harvesting and implanting follicles, but you have to start taking anti-rejection drugs forever so that the cells do not reject the ones imported to your body.
So this is not worth doing continuously as hair loss is not a life threatening condition. This is why it is not common to see third-party donor follicles in hair transplant like in other medical procedures like kidney, liver etc, because they are needed for life threatening situations.
Can you briefly tell us about each of the other procedures done here?
We do Platelet-rich Plasma therapy involving taking your blood in a test tube like four test tubes the placed in a centrifuge which spins the , test tubes at a very high speed, at the end of the spinning period, the plasma of your blood rises to the top of the test tube, that is how it gets separated, then using a syringe you are able to gently extract the plasma at the top of the test tube and it is that plasma that is injected back into the area where one wants to repair the thinning follicles.
Another treatment option is mesotherapy which effectively involves injecting pharmaceutical minosodel directly into the scalp. We also have micro-scalp pigmentation which actually makes a man looks as if he has hair. You have your hairlines but the rest of the scalp is pigmented with medical grade ink to make you look like you have hair. Another one is cortico-steroid injections given to people with alopecia areata. We also have range of products for treatment of hair loss such as specially made shampoos and other products used for medications.
With your experiences with Nigerians, how prevalent is hair loss in the country?
Hair loss is very prevalent in the country. 60% of men have androgenic alopecia while 40% of women have it as well. Traction alopecia is found probably in 2 or 3 out of female patients we see while other types are rare.
Can you let us into the background of your Hair Clinic?
Vinci Hair Clinic is a global medical aesthetics clinic. We have about 35 clinics in about 14 countries globally. So we are virtually represented on every continent. We offer the full treatment options for hair loss restoration.
The treatment options cover anything from just medication if you are at the lower end of a hair loss spectrum through some therapies that we deploy in the clinic such as platelet rich plasma therapy, mesotherapy, cortico-steriod injections and different types of treatment for different types of alopecia.
Through right spectrum to cosmetic procedures like scalp pigmentation which is very popular with men, and at the very end of the treatment spectrum, we have hair transplant procedure which is a surgical procedure. We also have products; and one of them is the laser cap used to do your own therapy at home or office. So we offer a full range of treatment options.
The Abuja clinic only does the non-surgical procedures; that is, everything I have mentioned with exception of hair transplant surgery can be carried out here in the Abuja branch of the clinic.
How affordable are your services for the average Nigerian?
ple as possible. It just makes commercial sense to do that. We will like our products to be available to a vast majority of Nigerians. However, costs of medication are what they are. If you are to buy a three-month supply of topical medication, for instance, you may need N86, 000 depending on the treatment. When transplant is involved, you will looking at $2, 000 (N4 m to N2.8 million) or more. The reason is simple. None of the stuff used in the clinic are made in Nigeria they are brought in from abroad. And we are aware of the rate of inflation, exchange rate currently, etc.
Is age a factor responsible for alopecia?
People always say the older you get, the more brittle your fibres become. This is not necessarily the case. Wole Soyinka is a good example here. So, yes, age can be a factor.
Psychological factor also lead to loss of hair. You see some people in their early 20s or 30s having receding hairlines. This might be due to a number of psychological factors.
What is your advice in summary to people with hair loss?
There is a solution to hair loss there is no need to panic. There are things you can do in some cases to prevent them for instance why do you need to make your braids so tight to give you headache If you look around your family and see people with hair loss, it means that you might be susceptible to it. So it is good to come to us at the early stage for immediate preventive procedure.so you can prevent contrary to myths about it