Will Hair Transplants Work for Me?
The other day I was reading a forum on hair loss and the question was posed, “when is the ideal time to get a hair transplant?” It occurred to me that if one person is asking this question, there are probably thousands who are wondering the same thing. But the answer isn’t a simple one.
If you are considering hair restoration surgery, there are a host of factors that make this a particularly personal and unique question that is different for every individual. Most people don’t just wake up one morning and decide that today is the day to get a hair transplant. Each of us have a different point that we reach when we come to that decision.
It all depends on several factors:
- your existing state of hair loss
- your age
- the robustness of the harvest site
- your expectations
Measuring Your Degree of Baldness
For measuring the amount of baldness one has, there is a scale that is used called the Hamilton-Norwood scale. This gives a visual depiction of the many stages of hair loss. Each visual depiction has a level associated with it and the higher the level, the greater the amount of hair loss.
Existing State of Hair Loss
Your existing stage of hair loss can be related to many factors in your family history. If there are a number of individuals that have extensive hair loss, then there is a likelihood that you could suffer the same hair loss. If your hair loss has plateaued or slowed to a normal cycle, then you are a better candidate for a hair transplant surgery than if you were still going through genetic hair loss.
Impact of Age
While there is not exact age that you need to be undergo a hair transplant, generally it is not performed on individuals under 25 year of age. This is for two reasons: one is because it can cause what is known as “shock loss” where existing healthy hair is damaged during the transplant process because of being to close in proximity. Secondly, you may have hair that is genetically programmed to fall out which may not have happened yet, but it should be completed by the age of 25. While it is true that each person is different, the average benchmark for a hair transplant surgery is over the age of 35. At this point your hair loss should have stabilized.
The Robustness of the Harvest Site
Everyone has a certain amount of donor hair. So the question becomes, how do we best distribute the hair most effectively? If someone starts to go bald at the crown and we use the donor for that area, there may not be enough donor hair to be used in the front should your hair begin to thin in that location.
There is also a lot of variation in the donor hair from patient to patient and that depends on the density of your natural hair. This can be measured using a densometer. This tells us how many hair grafts per square inch you have. That can range from 1,500 to 10,000 but it depends on the individual. With a limited amount of hair to use for a hair transplant, the patient and provider need to plan out carefully the position of each graft to achieve the best effect.
Managing Your Hair Transplant Expectations
If you could only fit one area, which area would you want it to be? It’s important to be prepared for the end result, and what will make you happiest realistically. There are some important factor to be aware of:
• Generally speaking, nobody gets a full head of hair from a single hair transplant surgery.
• It may take more than just one additional transplant surgery to get the best results, provided you have enough hair in the donor hair location.
• It can take time for transplanted hair to grow into strong health hair follicles. You need to be patient.
• Additional treatments such as laser hair therapy may be indicated to help your new hair grow.