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 39

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

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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

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

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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
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Who is a good candidate for a hair transplant

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A good candidate for a hair transplant is someone with a good dense donor site, a small recipient site, and with realistic expectations of the results. Also, it is preferable that the patient is at least 25 years of age before undergoing this procedure,

Dr. Robert Jones

Robert Jones, MD, FISHRS
Mississauga Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

21 year old

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You must wait until your final balding pattern becomes evident and that is usually around 25 years old.

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Who is a Good Candidate for Hair Transplant?

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A good hair transplant candidate has a stable supply of donor hair AND stabilized hair loss. A great candidate for hair transplantation has these characteristics and is over age 40. Why? The older transplant candidate has a mature hair loss pattern that is unlikely to proceed significantly past a Norwood level 5+ (significant and complete balding of the frontal AND crown region).

Natural hair density in the donor region is largely driven by genetics. Hair loss stabilization, however, can be greatly influenced by individual patient efforts (ie using minoxidil and finasteride, etc). If you are a young man (under 25) with signs of significant hair loss, I recommend starting a regimen of medical therapy FIRST for at least 6 months, to include all available nonsurgical methods, Rx and low level laser. 

A transplant will take 6-9 months before growth happens. In that time, if your hair loss recedes beyond the transplanted transition areas, you will have a bald ring that appears very unnatural, especially on a young man. Also consider the hair loss patterns of your close relatives. Your individual genetics will push your appearance in their direction. Therefore, you are very likely to require more than a single procedure throughout your life if you are significantly balding before age 25. Donor supply is limited and should be conserved so that you maintain a mature, natural hairline for a lifetime. 

Hair transplant at 21

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Hair transplant is not generally performed until patients have reached their early to mid 20's.  I typically wait on hair transplant until a patient is about 22 years old at the youngest, but each patient is unique.  The key factors to consider are the extent of hair loss at a young age, any other medical issues that may be contributing, and the family history of hair loss.  Family history allows us to better predict what the eventual extent and pattern of hair loss might be.

Also, at a young age, it is important for patients to understand that a hair transplant is not a cure for hair loss and that other topical treatments, medications, and future hair transplant sessions might be required to achieve optimal results.  I always recommend consulting with a fellowship-training hair restoration surgeon.

All the best,

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Hair transplant candidacy

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This can't be definitively answered unless there has been an individual examination. However I can elaborate a little on what we consider when we decide upon a patient's eligibility.

We definitely proceed with caution before we approve candidates who are under the age of 18. In rare cases, people that young do want this procedure and they will be carefully vetted before being approved, if they are approved at all. So, age is a factor. 

Another factor is the general health of the patient. For example, a surgeon will look at medical history, current health conditions (if any) and then decide if it’s safe to perform the procedure. In some cases, a candidate may need to resolve health issues prior to being approved for the surgery. 

Also, patients should have immune systems which are strong enough to allow them to heal properly after their operations.

Doctors prefer to perform hair transplants on patients who live healthy lifestyles. So, following a healthy diet, getting moderate exercise and practicing stress management will boost your odds of getting the “ok” for this type of surgery. 

A surgeon will also look at your degree of hair loss and how much donor hair you have available.

These are some variables. If you really want to make sure about your candidacy, you could book a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon in your city. Just make sure you chose a skilled, experienced, certified and well rated surgeon. 

This will be the best way to see if you’re a viable candidate for this type of procedure, as every patient is different. Only a surgeon can tell if this procedure is right for you.

Medical managment vs surgery for male pattern hair loss

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Thank you for your question.  I do feel for you and your situation.  You have started to lose your hair at a young age.  You may have a family member (i.e. brother, father, etc.) that has similar hair loss pattern and history.  My first advice for you would be to stabilize your hair loss as much as possible with medical management prior to considering any surgical hair restoration procedures. Two main stays for androgenic/male pattern hair loss are topical minoxidil (Rogaine) and oral finasteride (Propecia; requires a prescription from your doctor).  These two meds are the most reliable and well-studied medications for male hair loss.  For females, finasteride is not recommended due to risk of fetal birth defects and it is not as affective as most female pattern hair loss is not androgen/testosterone related.  There are some other/newer options that are less well studied, but may be helpful (i.e. light therapy, protein rich plasma injections, etc.).  Once your hair loss is stable and predictable, then one can consider having a surgical hair restoration procedure.  Your surgeon needs to design your hair transplant procedure with your future hair loss in mind so that you get a long-lasting and appropriate/natural result for your the rest of your life.

Jason Guillot, MD
Mandeville Otolaryngologist

Wait Until Hair Loss Has Slowed

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Thanks for your question. It's not abnormal to see younger men experiencing hair loss, but it's still too early for you to undergo a restoration procedure. For the best results, it's best to wait until the hair loss process has slowed down or stabilized before undergoing a transplant. At this point, it's still too early in the hair loss process to predict what pattern your loss will take. By delaying your procedure, you can ensure that you get natural-looking results that will last as long as possible. 

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Good Candidate is in good health with moderate hair loss and ample donor hair at the back of the scalp

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The ideal candidate for hair restoration at The Miami Institute is in good health with moderate hair loss and ample donor hair at the back of the scalp. The more donor hair available, the greater the hair density that can be restored.

Julio F. Gallo, MD
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.