Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy after Hair Transplantation Surgery Does Not Yield Better Hair Follicle Survival Rate
Hyperbaric oxygen has been touted as effective by many different individuals as a favorable adjunct to many postsurgical issues. However, hyperbaric oxygen has been approved for very few uses, and there are even fewer large studies to support use of HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for some of the postulated uses.
Dr. Kenneth Hughes follows the scientific research closely to determine if there is any evidence in the literature to support any claims made. Hair transplant surgery remains the gold standard for the treatment of hair loss when medical therapy fails or produces an unsatisfactory change. Recently, Fan et al submitted in August of 2020 an article titled, “The effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Combined with Hair Transplantation Surgery for the Treatment of Alopecia.” In their paper, they discuss the postoperative state of hair follicles following hair transplant surgeries. The transplanted hair follicles suffer from various injury, which are difficult to prevent. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) was reported to be an excellent procedure to promote capillary regeneration and reduce ischemia‐reperfusion injury. The group wanted to evaluate the clinical efficacy of HBOT as an adjuvant therapy for hair transplantation surgery.
They included 34 patients with II‐IV alopecia were divided into the control group and HBOT group randomly. The control group were treated with routine FUE procedure, while HBOT group combined with HBOT. Patients were treated with 100% oxygen under 2.0 atmospheres absolute pressure for 60 minutes through a facemask during HBOT and take the therapy daily for 7 days continuously after operation. Satisfaction and clinical improvement were evaluated at the fourth week and the sixth month postoperatively Itching and folliculitis was significantly decreased in HBOT group (11.8% versus 35.3%). In addition, HBOT resulted in a lower postoperative shedding rate (27.6±2.6% versus 69.1±2.4%).
Nonetheless, in the final analysis hyperbaric oxygen therapy proved to do little for the final results. The survival rate at 9 months showed no significant difference between HBOT (96.9±0.5%) and control (93.8±0.6%). The early postoperative satisfaction in control group was much lower than HBOT group (52.9% versus 88.2%), whereas all patients showed satisfaction with the final result.