What is HypoThermosol?
Keeping tissue alive during any sort of long-term transportation has always been difficult until fairly recently. This is especially true for hair restoration procedures, where hair follicles must survive as they are removed from one area of the scalp and transplanted onto another. The easiest way to protect these hair follicles from outside contaminants and other environmental factors is to place them inside of a chilled solution. HypoThermosol was first introduced into the field of hair restoration by Dr. Jerry Cooley in Charlottle, North Carolina. It is the brand name of storage solution made by Bio Life Solutions that is becoming the industry standard for hair transplants for a number of reasons.
How Does HypoThermosol Help?
During a hair transplant surgery, a follicular unit consisting of multiple hair follicles is first removed from an area of the scalp with healthy, transplantable hair (this area is known as the donor zone), and subsequently placed onto an area of the scalp with hair loss (this area is known as the recipient scalp).
When the follicular units are being transported from the donor zone to recipient scalp, a number of conditions can damage the follicular units and render them unusable.
- Dehydration – the hair follicle constantly receives moisturizing oils and nutrition when it is in the scalp. Removing the hair follicle from the scalp temporarily deprives it of oil and nutrition until it can be replanted. HypoThermosol is a liquid solution that allows the follicular units to retain important nutrients and moisture as they await transplantation.
- A lack blood supply – the hair follicles themselves utilize the bloodstream as a source of nutrition. If the hair follicles are deprived of a blood supply for too long, they will not survive. The scalp is connected to the circulatory system and has excellent blood flow. The bloodstream contains oxygen. Oxygen reaches the hair follicle through a connective structure called the dermal papilla.
- The body converts oxygen into energy through a process called ATP. This process is gives hair follicles the energy to go through each of the three different cycling phases of hair development, anagen, catagen and telogen. Sometimes a physician will have their patients inhale oxygen prior to a hair transplant procedure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the body, which can ostensibly result in the follicular units storing more oxygen. This in turn allows them to last longer outside of the body. A 2010 study suggests that inhaling oxygen before the procedure can increase the survivability odds of follicular units by as much as 50%.
HypoThermosol versus Traditional Storage Solutions
Traditionally, hair transplant have relied on chilled sterilized saline as the preferred method of storage solution for follicular hair units. While saline will prevent the follicular units from dehydrating, it does not offer any of the nutritional sustenance that the follicular unit enjoys while in the scalp. A recent 2015 study left follicular unit grafts outside of the body for ninety-six hours in either normal saline or HypoThermosol with ATP. When they were transplanted into the recipient scalp, researchers found that a larger number of hairs that used HypoThermosol with ATP survived.