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 26

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

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 11 reviews

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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 30 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.

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.

Neograft Candidates

Candidates for Neograft are those who are in good health with sufficient donor hair on the back of the scalp. Individuals who benefit from follicular unit extraction hair transplantation are those who like to wear their hair short, have had previous hair transplant procedure(s), would like to spot treat areas of concern, or proactively minimize the appearance of hair loss. Dr. Robbins will assess the area of concern as well as the donor area to determine the number of grafts needed to give the desired look. 

David L. Robbins, MD, FACS
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Am I A Good Candidate for Hair Transplant

Almost anyone with Male Patterned Baldness (MPB) could be a good candidate for a hair transplant.  The recommended age fora  hair transplant varies and it has to do with the stage and maturity of your hair loss.  We usually are more conservative with younger patients and at times try medical treatment options before considering a hair transplant.  Having said that, hair loss in young patients has the most negative effects on patients psycho-socially.  The best is for you to find a good hair transplant surgeon who can review your options and come up with a plan that include medications and hair transplant.  I include a link of my blog that reviews the reason that we can offer hair transpant to some younger patients. 

Parsa Mohebi, MD
Beverly Hills Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Hair Restoration Candidate

21 years old is not too young to consider hair transplant- if male pattern baldness has been established (ie: if it is in the family line). Anyone experiencing hair loss should schedule a consultation with an expert at a reputable facility to discover what treatment (if any) would work best for them. It's an easy step that could result in great satisfaction and super results.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

21 year old with hair loss. should he get hair transplants?

If you are a 21 year old who is loosing his hair, the first thing to know is your familial hair pattern.  Look at the male in your immediate family with the most amount of hair loss. That is the worst you can get!

If this hair loss is where you are  now, then considering hair transplantation is reasonable.

If this hair loss is much worst than where you are now, I would not consider hair transplantation. I would first stabilize the loss with medical hair loss treatments. For this, you need a trained dermatologist who handles hair loss.

After the hair loss is slowed and stabilized, see if you still want a better hairline. If you do, then consider FUE techniques of hair transplantation. Surgeons adept in FUE might use manual devices or motorized devices or the NeoGraft system or the newest robotic hair transplantation system by Artas.

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.