Hair loss is a common problem experienced by men and some women. Instead of accepting advancing baldness, both men and women can combat this problem with the help of several different procedures designed for hair restoration. Modern transplant procedures can typically replace lost hair in ways that seem natural to the patient and to any outside observers. A variety of non-surgical techniques can also play a major role in combating the effects of hair loss.
Men and women typically lose hair in different distinctive patterns. Men usually develop a genetic condition called male-pattern baldness, which causes a gradual receding front hairline, as well as gradual hair thinning at the crown or top of the head. While women sometimes also develop this type of hair loss, they more commonly experience a form of hair thinning that affects all portions of the scalp. Men with male-pattern baldness and women with similar forms of hair loss are usually good candidates for a surgical restoration procedure. However, women with diffuse hair thinning in all regions of the scalp are not good candidates for these procedures.
Transplant surgery is the general term for hair restoration procedures. During a transplant, a specially trained surgeon will remove healthy hair which is genetically programmed to last for life from the rear portion of a patient’s scalp, then transfer that hair to balding areas at the scalp’s front and/or crown. One form of hair harvesting, called strip harvesting, involves the removal of a follicle-bearing strip of tissue from the rear of the scalp. Another modern procedure, called a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant, involves the direct removal of individual hair follicles.
Before placing the individual grafts, the surgeon will create the necessary recipient sites in the frontal hairline zone, the crown of the scalp, or both depending on the amount of loss one has; the location, and orientation of these sites naturally vary from person to person. Next, the surgical tech team will place the transplanted hair in the recipient sites while paying close attention to such factors as proper direction and angle. Transplanted hair grows in during the same natural growth cycle that affects the scalp’s non-transplanted hair. This means that growth typically starts about four months after a transplant procedure and continues for the next 9 to 12 months. The hairs from hair transplantation will remain in place permanently, and will re-grow after cutting like the rest of the patient’s hair.
Non-surgical methods of combating hair loss include treatment with the medication Propecia; treatment with the medication Rogaine; use of a prescription-strength shampoo called Nizoral; and use of supplemental products such as Tricomin and Viviscal. Patients may also choose a painless, non-invasive procedure called laser hair therapy. Typically, each individual can decide with his or her doctor whether surgical or non-surgical treatments are needed or if a combination of both is an optimal treatment plan.
Some potential patients may worry about the costs associated with combating hair loss. In particular, they may worry about hair transplant cost or restoration cost. However, some restoration specialists help their patients reduce or manage the expense of any desired procedures through financing programs and/or travel reimbursement programs.