Will a Hair Transplant Replace All My Lost Hair?

hair transplant candidateIt is a common question for people who want an answer to their male pattern balding and most other forms of hair loss. “Will a Hair Transplant Replace All My Lost Hair?” The answer depends on several factors.

The sooner a patient seeks treatment for their hair loss, the better. Getting a diagnosis from a physician, dermatologist or hair transplant surgeon is the best place to begin. Only one of these medical professionals can determine which courses of action are appropriate. Since some types of hair loss are treatable in other ways, or can be a symptom of illness.

A study of identical twins found that the brother who started taking medicine for hair loss the soonest had better long-term results and retained more hair. The medicine (minoxidil and finasteride) usually prevents further hair loss while being taken, but the hair loss continues when the medication stops.

Male pattern balding is progressive. In individuals with male pattern balding, the hair follicles on the front (hairline) and top of the scalp are genetically pre-programmed to fall out as one ages. The process is triggered by an abundance of the sex hormone DHT. Therefore, the sooner treatment is sought, the more donor hair the transplant surgeon has to work with. “Donor hair” means the hair on the back and sides of the scalp that are not subject to balding. This is where the hair will be transplanted from. Scarring can be minimized using a trichophytic closure.

A hair transplant can be performed even on some advanced cases of hair loss. However, a hair transplant will have more subtle results if done when the balding areas are still fairly small. People tend to notice sudden changes more than subtle changes. It is less likely that people who are friends or colleagues with the patient will specifically notice the gradual growing-in of hair in the balding areas after a hair transplant. (Good news: with the follicular unit micrografting, bandages are not needed after the surgery, so no one will likely notice). The only thing that friends and colleagues are likely to notice is a great-looking individual!

In a single sitting, a good hair transplant surgeon will do the maximum number of follicular unit micrografts he or she can. This helps preserve the donor area for any future sittings. The “strip” method (removing a strip of donor hair) tends to cause less visible scarring and makes future sittings easier, compared to follicular unit extraction (removing individual or small amounts of hair follicles from the donor area).

Due to the genetic, hormone-related, progressive nature of male pattern balding, non-donor hair in the balding areas will continue to fall out. However, the donated hair will stay and follow its normal growth cycle. Therefore, depending on the individual, these areas may begin to have noticeable balding again, and an additional sitting may be needed. Medication may be taken to help retain the non-donor hair as long as possible.

A hair transplant does not actually replace hair, but a transplant does move hair from a location of abundance to a thinning or balding location. Therefore, answer to the question “Will a Hair Transplant Replace All My Lost Hair?” is conditional on how much the hair loss has progressed and how much donor hair is available.