Would someone with alopecia be qualified for hair transplant?

My husband, age 30, was recently diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis. He used to be a really hairy guy so this is hard for him. His dermatologist basically told him there's nothing he can do for him. Doctors believe the cause of Alopecia was having went under anesthesia twice for hand surgery from an auto accident. Would someone with alopecia be qualified for hair transplant? We are just beginning to research this option. Thank you in advance!!

Doctor Answers (4)

Hair Transplant for Alopecia Patient

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Alopecia Universalis and all other forms of alopecia areata are not conditions that can be treated with hair transplantation. These are immune system disorders and the hair follicle that is moved will be attacked just as the original hair was. In Universalis there is no donor area either, as the condition affects all hair growth!

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Hair transplant for alopecia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Sorry to hear about your husband's condition.  Unfortunately, if what he has is in fact alopecia universalis then he would not be a candidate for hair transplantation or restoration.  Hair restoration involves moving a patient's own hair from an area of dense growth to an area of sparse growth.  If we have no donor hair or very little donor hair then a procedure isn't possible.  Best of luck

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Hair Transplantation for Alopecia Universalis

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Alopecia Universalis is an autoimmune condition whereby hair loss occurs from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. An experienced dermatologist can make the diagnosis of alopecia universalis simply by examining the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. A biopsy is not required. Blood tests may be ordered by some physicians to ensure other autoimmune conditions are not present, particularly autoimmune thyroid disease.

We now know that the chance to develop alopecia is present at birth. Alopecia universalis is strongly controlled by genetic factors. But what causes the condition to come out later in life in some people but not in other people even through the genetics was in both at birth - is unknown. Most people do not have a family history but a family history of other autoimmune conditions may be present in the family (thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and even alopecia areata as well).

Hair transplants are not an option for alopecia universalis and is not an option for alopecia totals and alopecia areata. It's important to understand that hair used in a hair transplant has to come from the same person - and in alopecia universalis there is not enough hair. In addition, even if patients have smaller degrees of hair loss (i.e. patchy or localized alopecia areata) hair transplantation is not an option because the immune system may attack the newly transplanted hairs.

There is no cure for alopecia areata. Options for treatment include immunosuppressive medications (cyclosporine, methotrexate, sulfasalazine) and contact sensitization with diphencyprone and squaric acid. Hair loss may occur once the treatments are stopped. Given the potential side effects and need to long term use and very, very low chances for success in alopecia universalis (less than 5 %), treatment may not be started by many individuals with alopecia universals. If medical treatment (i.e. treatment with medications) is desired - it is important to visit a dermatologist experienced in the treatment of advanced hair loss conditions. Treatment success rates are much higher in individuals with localized areas of hair loss. Scalp micropigmentation and use of a scalp hair systems are other options to camouflage hair loss.

Alopecia Universalis and a hair transplant

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If this is a diagnosis verified by biopsies and second and third opinions, there should be no donor hairs to use fir a hair transplant. Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) could be done to give the appearance of the stubble seen in a shaved down hairstyle.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD
Oakland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.