Over the last few decades hair transplantation surgery has rapidly evolved, becoming more sophisticated and successful, however the process has still fundamentally relied on hair follicles being redistributed from one part of the body to another. Growing human hair follicles in laboratory conditions has proved challenging for researchers, ultimately limiting the efficacy of hair restoration surgery, especially in patients without hair already present that can be grafted.
This new breakthrough brings together a couple of recent innovations. First, the researchers created a unique plastic mold using 3D printers. The moulds are designed to resemble a natural micro-environment stimulating hair follicle growth through tiny extensions just half a millimeter wide.
“Previous fabrication techniques have been unable to create such thin projections, so this work was greatly facilitated by innovations in 3D printing technology,” explains first author on the study, Erbil Abaci.