Male Pattern Hair Loss and Hair Transplants

male pattern baldingMen often experience hair loss. Most healthy individuals lose about 150 hairs per day, but balding individuals lose more and start to notice thinning and bald patches.

The most common reasons for male hair loss are: genetics/hormones, an auto-immune disorder, and fungal infections.

As much as 99% of male hair loss is related to genetics. Balding runs in families. It’s called “androgenetic alopecia” or “male-pattern hair loss.” These genes come from both the mother and father.

The adult sons of balding men may notice their own hair loss, sigh, and resign themselves to the fact that their genetics will make them lose hair, too.

So they do nothing. They clean up the hairs that fall out into their bathroom sink every day, and await their fate. The longer they wait to see a dermatologist to truly understand their hair loss, the worse the problem gets.

A trip to the dermatologist will help to rule out an auto-immune disorder called “alopecia areata.” A fungal infection can also cause hair loss and needs specific treatments with medicine.

Look closely at the scalp of a man with male-pattern hair loss and you will notice that the hair loss is at the frontal hair line and on the top of the head. The rest of the scalp, at the back and sides, has plenty of hair.
Genetics have decided to release the hairs on the front and top. However, genetics also pre-programmed the hairs on the back and sides to stay in place. These hair follicles continue to grow hair throughout life. And with male-pattern hair loss, there are plenty of these hairs available.

Follicular unit transplantation utilizes this “donor hair” because it is already genetically resistant to the male-pattern balding. When hair is taken from the back and sides, it can restore natural hairlines that are also genetically resistant to balding.

Under local anesthetic, while the patient is fully awake, long strips of skin are painlessly removed from inconspicuous “donor” areas on the back and sides. Sutures are used to seal these areas with minimal or no visible scarring. Then, the hairs are cut short. Using a microscope, the grafts are analyzed for quality and the follicular units are dissected.

Grafts with just a few follicles are used to create a natural looking hairline. Grafts with 3 or 4 follicles are used further back. “There is an art and a science to making a natural-looking hairline,” said dermatologist and hair transplant doctor Lawrence Shapiro. “At my hair transplant clinics in Boca Raton and Miami Florida, we conduct extra dissection of the fatty tissue around the hair follicles for better results, and we match the natural direction of the original hair follicles.”

The balding recipient site is then numbed using local anesthetic, and small incisions are made. The grafts are packed into these tiny incisions. A recipient area can receive 500 to 4,000 grafts.

In about three to six months, the patient will have new hair growth. Full growth will take place in nine to twelve months.

The grafts will continue to grow and will be unaffected by male pattern baldness. If further male pattern hair loss occurs on the original hair, a follow-up follicular hair transplant can be conducted.

Any man experience hair loss should seek professional medical advice before resigning his scalp to fate.