Stem Cell Hair Transplant: How Much Does It Cost & Is It Effective?


Written by:

Human hair can be really tricky to grow. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia or another form of hair loss, we’re guessing you already know this and are curious if stem cell therapies might be your pathway to new hair follicles.

Stem cell research — specifically, stem cell hair restoration research — is a growing and complicated field. While its potential for hair regeneration is seemingly endless, the reality of anything resembling a proven pathway is still in the proverbial test tube phase.

Stem Cell Hair Transplant Procedure

Stem cells aren’t science fiction — though SciFi might be what introduces many of us to the idea. And while hair cloning seems like a cool and plausible way to treat baldness, it’s not exactly the “next big thing” in the world of hair loss.

Why not? The answer lies in some of the facts Marvel and DC left on the cutting room floor.

What Are Stem Cells?

Though the last few decades have hosted much discussion about the ethics of stem cell use, the modern reality is far from controversial.

Stem cells from the human body exist in both adults and embryos. Harvesting them from fetal tissues isn’t really how things are done anymore.

Stem cells are essentially any cells that haven’t been assigned a purpose yet. These cells exist in various tissues and can develop into any cell type of an organism. They can also self-renew.

If you’re thinking of superheroes who can regenerate, you’re not exactly missing the mark. One way to explain the abilities of SciFi characters like Wolverine or Captain America would be to say they have really, really active stem cells that can develop at super speeds.

How Stem Cell Hair Transplants Work

Stem cell hair transplants can happen in several ways. But generally, stem cells are harvested from autologous tissues — tissues from your own body. 

These could be fat stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells (harvested from bone marrow cells, fat tissue or dental pulp). Or they may come from elsewhere.

In any case, they’re typically harvested under local anesthesia using a circular blade. The “punch biopsy” is a puncture procedure that accesses the subcutaneous fascia layer of the skin — where your hair follicles live.

After the cells are harvested, a centrifuge separates unneeded parts of the sample from the stem cells to create a cell suspension.

The solution is then injected into areas of the scalp where the stem cells will be converted into follicular cells, theoretically stimulating new hair growth.

Recovery Time for Stem Cell Hair Transplants

The good news for stem cell treatments is that the recovery time is often quite quick. 

A traditional hair transplant that takes skin grafts can require days or weeks of healing in the donor area. But there’s very little cutting or surgical damage to the harvest site or the area of hair loss with stem cells.

Hair transplant surgery also means a risk of scarring. This may not happen with stem cell harvesting, but it can leave bruises similar to what a liposuction surgery does when removing adipose tissue (fat cells).

In fact, fat cells have been used as a source of stem cells in several procedures, so lipo is more than a close comparison — it’s the same procedure.

In other words, the procedure will generally heal leaving little to no sign it ever happened. Healing time is likely quick for this type of procedure, as it’s not super invasive. However, depending on the exact retrieval technique, recovery time may be a little longer.

(RelatedCan Finasteride Regrow a Receding Hairline?)

Stem Cell Transplant Cost

Most stem cell treatments aren’t FDA-approved. This means any stem cell hair transplants will be considered cosmetic treatments, investigational therapies or clinical trials — and not covered by your insurance.

The price of stem cell hair transplant varies greatly. The best way to find out how much these treatment options cost is to talk to a hair transplant specialist with a free online consultation.

Stem Cell Hair Regrowth Success Rate

The reality is, there’s simply not enough data to give you an idea of the success rate of stem cell injections for hair loss — regardless of whether the condition is due to androgenic alopecia or something else. Most of the data is anecdotal at this point and will remain that way for some time.

We’ll share a number of positive study results with you. But bear in mind the potential of stem cells is far from proven, and the studies thus far have been small. 

Here are a couple of promising studies:

  • One study of 11 individuals aged 38 to 61 reported a 29 percent increase in hair density with stem cell treatment.

  • In a study with 22 participants (half men, half women), those who got stem cell treatment reported significant increases in hair growth compared to a placebo. But some adverse events were noted, including post-procedural pain.

Stem Cell Controversy: What to Know

Modern stem cell therapy isn’t really concerned with ethical questions surrounding embryonic stem cells — especially since the types of cells used in things like hair treatment are usually harvested from your own body.

That’s a relief for anyone who doesn’t want to touch the question of when personhood begins with a 10-foot pole.

That said, there are other concerns about this type of procedure. For one, it’s not FDA-approved for most of the ways it’s used today. Also, huge risks are associated with going through untrustworthy purveyors.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) warns: “Some patients may be vulnerable to stem cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful.” 

Of course, there are pros and cons to any hair loss treatment, procedure or surgery. Still, it’s always best to speak with a licensed health professional when weighing your options.

Side Effects of Stem Cell Hair Treatments

Since research is ongoing, we can’t give you a thorough list of side effects or risks. However, complications from the harvesting and injection procedures could include pain, infection or serious tissue injury if they aren’t performed poorly.

If you’re considering a stem cell hair treatment, it’s best to discuss the individual risks associated with your provider’s procedure ahead of time so you’re informed when you make your decision.

Or maybe you’ll go with another approach to hair loss treatment.

Alternatives to Stem Cell Hair Treatment

Your best hair loss solution might not involve surgery or potentially painful procedures. 

Androgenetic alopecia goes by many names: male pattern hair loss, female pattern baldness and about a dozen others. It affects everyone — men and women, young and old — and despite advancements in medical science, there’s no cure.

But several treatment approaches actually work.

Various hair loss treatments are available. They include:

(RelatedFinasteride & Minoxidil: The Most Effective Hair Loss Combo?)

The Bottom Line on Stem Cells for Hair Loss

Your hairline may not look like it used to. Whether that’s due to thinning hair associated with male pattern baldness or another type of alopecia like telogen effluvium or alopecia areata, stem cell therapies might help.

Or they might not.

Figuring out the right way to deal with hair loss is about finding a treatment that suits your unique needs.

Here’s what to know (and what to do):

  • Stem cell hair therapies may offer hair loss solutions for men who haven’t responded to other treatment types.

  • However, they’re not FDA-approved and haven’t been substantially demonstrated to work…yet.

  • If stem cell hair transplant or hair restoration doesn’t sound like the right choice for you right now, numerous other treatments are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.

  • Your best bet is to consult a healthcare professional or hair loss expert to learn more about treatments like minoxidil and discuss what might be best for you.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

More from MediaFeed:

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



Featured Image Credit: macniak/istockphoto.