Who is a Good Candidate for Hair Transplant?

I am 21 years old, and I began losing hair when i was 19. The area around my hair line is very thin now. I was wondering, is hair transplant is an option for me right now? Who should ideally consider having hair transplant done?

Doctor Answers 30

Anyone is a good candidate for hair transplant surgery but consider other options

The key to determining good candidates for hair restoration surgery is estimating what the patient's hair loss pattern might be. Once hair is transplanted, it will not fall out, though the native hair will continue its loss.

In a young person such as yourself, it is difficult to tell what your eventual pattern of hair loss might be and your transplant may create an unnatural appearance as you lose more hair.

You can usually get away with a small transplant to provide slightly more density in the hairline with the understanding that you will likely need additional treatment in the future as your hair loss progresses.

The other option you have is to begin either minoxidil or finasteride. If you are concerned about your hair loss, I would suggest visiting with a hair restoration surgeon who is knowledgeable in hair loss for more information and options that are specific for your concerns.

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Who is a Good Candidate for hair Transplant?

A good candidate for hair restoration surgery is someone who is generally healthy with no absolute contraindications to the treatment. They should have no family history of severe male pattern baldness and ideally have tried medication to reduce hair loss
Realistic expectations are important and an awareness of the alternative options available
The ideal age is mid thirties and hair restoration surgery is an option for both men and women alike.

Hassan Nurein, MD
London Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Good Candidates Have a Stable Supply of Donor Hair which can Cover Current and Future Areas of Hair Loss

A person is a good candidate for a hair transplant when they have a stable supply of donor hair which is adequate to cover the current and future areas of hair loss. Since it is very difficult to assess the long-term stability of donor hair and the extent of future hair loss when patients are very young, it is best to wait to have a hair transplant until at least the age of 25.

A densitometer is an instrument which enables the doctor to determine the permanence of the donor hair and the extent of future balding.

People that are good candidates are also realistic. A hair transplant should not be used to restore an adolescent hairline, but to restore a normal adult hairline, so that the procedure will look good long-term.

In general, people with frontal hair loss will benefit most from hair restoration surgery whereas hair loss in the crown is more amenable to medication.

Robert M. Bernstein, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Who can benefit from hair transplant

Any one who has experienced permanent hair loss may be a candidate for hair restoration surgery. Once the patient is seen by a hair restoration specialist, the doctor make evaluations for the cause of hair loss and give recommendations for hair transplant surgery or any other treatment option. In most cases hair restoration can be a benefit to the following individuals:

  • Men with male pattern hair loss.
  • Women with male pattern hair loss.
  • Men and women who want to restore or change the shape of their hair line.
  • People with areas of scarring from injuries or scarring skin disease.
  • Patients who experience hair loss after a surgical procedure such as face lift.
  • People who want to thicken or restore eyebrows, eyelashes, and beards.
  • Those seeking reconstruction and correction of old methods or pluggy look. 
Hair transplantation has become very popular procedure for the past few years among both women and men. before deciding on hair transplant, it is important to find out if you are a good candidate for the surgery or you benefit more from a medical regiment.

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Who is a Good Candidate for Hair Transplant?

Thank you for your question. Surgical hair restoration transfers your own hair follicles from a donor site to a recipient site on the scalp. Characteristics of good candidates for this procedure include: being healthy, having reasonable expectations about results, understanding the limitations of the procedure, not having a family history of the most severe types of male pattern baldness. It is important to understand that hair loss is progressive. The hair transplant procedure does not prevent further loss from non-transplanted areas. If an individual is actively losing hair, he may expect that pattern of hair loss to continue. There are medical treatments available that can help minimize that loss in most men. Speak with your hair restoration surgeon about recommendations in your case.

James M. Pearson, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Who is a Good Candidate for Hair Transplant?

The absolute ideal candidate for hair transplant surgery is anyone who has more hair still remaining on the back and sides compared to the amount of loss at the front and top, and also demonstrates that the loss has stabilised and no history of anyone worse than them in the family!
Of course the above is the ideal, but doesn't mean it is not a good idea otherwise to have a hair transplant.  It is all a question of balance and being reasonable in your expectations coupled with skill, experience and wisdom from your hair transplant surgeon.
Generally the younger you are, the earlier you are in your hair loss journey and the more severe your family history is, the higher the risk you take if you undergo hair transplantation. So at your age and the circumstances I assume you are experiencing it is most likely wise to to try and stabilise the loss with Propecia, Regaine/Rogaine, low level laser therapy or any combination until the your loss stops. Once this is achieved then an ethical and experience hair transplant surgeon will be able to advise you adequately

Bessam Farjo, MBChB
Manchester Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

21 is young

You will likely continue to thin.  For now, I'd stick to Rogaine and Propeica.  Grafting now is probably premature. When your hair thins beyond the grafts you will get a bald gap.  Then, you will be forced to graft again to fill the gap.  At 21, your rate of hair loss may created these gaps every couple years.  You would be chasing your tail until loss slows.

Tim Neavin, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

It all depends on each individual

There is no absolute.  If you're completely bald at the age of 21 and you understand what a hair transplant can achieve, you may be a candidate. If you are 35 and completely bald  and don't understand what a hair transplant can accomplish you may NOT be a candidate.

It all depend on your examination and a good diagnosis of your hair (or future hair loss) status. You need to have a MASTER PLAN of how to manage your hair loss issues now and 10, 20, 30 years from now.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Is anyone a good candidate for a hair transplant?

I wanted to address the earlier assertion that "anyone is a good candidate for hair transplant surgery..." It is incontrovertible that there are many people for whom hair transplantation would not be appropriate, and many reasons why it might not be advisable for someone to have a hair transplant. A few clear-cut examples of non-candidates for surgery would be people with certain types of scarring alopecia, autoimmune disease, telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, body dysmorphic disorder, and other medical conditions which do not respond well to hair transplantation. As pointed out by another colleague, an unfavorable supply:demand ratio and unrealistic expectations would also render someone less than a good candidate for surgery. Reasonable minds may differ, as they say, but I suspect that the majority of full-time, experienced hair transplant surgeons would agree that those in their early 20's are not, as a general rule, good candidates for surgery.

You say you have been losing hair for the past two years; to be on the safe side, we have to assume that without medical treatment you will have less hair in another year or two than you have today, and that this would create an unnatural appearance if you were to have a permanent transplanted hairline. "A small transplant to provide slightly more density in the hairline" may look good for a short time, but you need to consider the possibility that you would have to continue having hair transplants every two years as you go through your 20s and beyond. Most experienced hair transplant surgeons would agree that it would be wise for a 21-year-old with a thinning hairline to wait a few years while making an effort to stabilize the situation using a combination of finasteride (Propecia) and/or minoxidil (Rogaine) and/or low level laser therapy. It is hard for a 21-year-old to understand that it is unrealistic to keep the hairline he had at age 19 forever; however, very few men are fortunate enough to do this over the course of their lives.

Jonathan Ballon, MD
Atlanta Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Hair transplantation in younger patients

At your age, we will see evolving hair loss gradually placing you amongst one of the Norwood categories. At age 21, its likely too early to consider transplantation since your hair loss will likely progress. You should strongly consider dual prevention therapy with topical minoxidil and oral finasteride. Consider the side effects of finasteride carefully.

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.