I've been facing the issue of hair loss since 18 years old. I'm now 21 and wondering if I should get a Hair Hransplant. (photo)
Doctor Answers 12
21 and wants a hair transplant
It's hard to have advanced hair loss at such young age.
You also have to understand that hair transplant surgery is not a cure and that they will continue to have further hair loss of non-transplanted hairs. You need to have realistic goals and understand what is possible and what is not possible with surgery.There are medical options as well as cosmetic options such as SMP or even just shaving your head!
Non surgical methods to improve hair loss
Consider non surgical methods such as Rogaine for now. There are many methods of hair transplantation. Wanted them RFUE and another can be a surgical flap. Grafts can be taken with as few as one hair follicle or multiple follicles. The quality of the hair, the number of follicles per unit and the location in which the hair is to be placed are all important determinants in the final result. While it is a common misconception that hair can and should be taken from any location, taking appropriate hair from an appropriate location is key to success. For instance, one cannot always use hair from a beard to replace a frontal hairline. The orientation in which Harris placed is also important. If the frontal hairline is being created then it is important to make sure that hairs are aligned in the correct orientation. The way the hair is also laid down, for example a staggered pattern versus a straight line will also change the quality of the result. You should certainly visit with a surgeon who does many of these types of transplantations as well as offers multiple options for hair restoration. The cost can vary by geographic locale. In general they can arrange from $7000-$25,000. When you go over consultation ask for before and after photographs.
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Non-surgical treatment to stop hair loss and thicken existing hair is your best option now. Consider a hair transplant later on
Male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness (MBP) is usually caused by a genetic predisposition. Progenitor cells which are important in the protection of the hair follicles may be diminished or absent making them vulnerable to the effects and attacks of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the sudden weakness of the hair follicles and literally chokes them until they get smaller, which is referred to as miniaturization.
An FDA approved drug to combat DHT is Finasteride which is an oral medication that blocks it. Unfortunately there have been a lot of concerns about the long term sexual side effects of using this drug. Another drug is Minoxidil which has been around since the 80s and it is a topical treatment, but it tends to be not effective for men who have had pattern hair loss at a younger age.
It has been a standard in our industry not treat young people with transplantation because of a couple of reasons: even with a transplant, you can’t achieve the level of thick hairs; and you may still lose hair from the ongoing progression of baldness. This means that even if we transplant one hair, you may lose two or three hairs.
In my practice, I approach hair loss in a different way called Hair Regeneration using a material called extracellular matrix (ECM) made by ACell for wound healing. This material is combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a material that contains growth factors drawn from your own blood, and also combined with vitamin D. It is placed in a very specific way under the layer of skin called the dermis that stimulates cellular repair and growth. This results in the growth and healing of hair follicles. In fact, patients who had these injections look as if they had hair transplant done.
When deciding on whether or not to do a hair transplant, I usually wait about a year after I do the injection. After that’s done, we discuss what you want and make a decision about a hair transplant based on a couple of factors: your donor hair density or how much hair you have in the back per square centimeter; and hair thickness and quality because it takes more fine hairs to cover areas that can be covered by one thick hair.
Hair Transplant at a Young Age
At such a young age, I do not recommend a hair transplant, instead advise patients such as yourself to consider Propecia, possibly Rogaine, and laser light therapy, all of which seem to have some benefit in slowing down male pattern hair loss.
Hair Restoration Surgery
From your pictures and the progression of your hair loss, you may be a good candidate for hair restoration surgery. First, it’s important to determine the cause of your hair loss and if you have adequate donor sites for harvesting grafts. This should be discussed during a consultation with a hair loss specialist/hair replacement surgeon. It’s important to note that hair restoration surgery does not stop the balding process and further preventative measures such as Rogaine (Minoxidil) and Propecia (Finasteride) are absolutely necessary to start right away and continue even after surgery. Hopefully, you are using these preventative medications presently, if not that should be your first task.
Hair Transplant at a Young Age
You are quite young to have such advanced hair loss, and it appears you are likely to progress to NW 6 or NW 7. If you were to undergo hair transplant now, you will probably need at least one more surgery later on to keep up with the continuing loss of hair. Otherwise, you will develop an odd-looking growth pattern. If you do decide to pursue hair transplant now, definitely use follicular unit extraction in order to minimize scarring and preserve donor hair for the future.
You are an excellent candidate for a hair transplant. You have good donor hair, and quality and color are not a problem. In my office we do only scarless follicular extraction unit trechnique with a mechanized system to speed the proccess. This means no transplant scar and a rapid recovery . All hair work is then designed and graft holes placed by myself. This ensures that you get the fastest, best, and most undetectable transplant work possible.
Young patient losing hair
Your hair loss is rapidly progressing but you do have a large amount of donor. Our practice does Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE, in order to minimize the donor site morbidity and the recovery without any scar in the back. This allows you to have multiple procedures over a lifetime if your hair loss continues to progress. You also don't want to go in front of your current hairline so if you continue to lose hair, you won't have grafts in front of an area of hair loss
It is best to start hair transplantation before the full hairline is lost
You are indeed progressing rapidly and are like to repeat your father's pattern. In my opinion, after doing hair restoration for 38 years, there is always enough donor hair to maintain the frontal hairline, so when frontal hair loss begins at a young age it is always possible to keep that frontal hairline looking good. Starting before it is all lost allows a much more natural look, as the current hair gives excellent guidance regarding angles and direction and hides the grafts as they are growing out.It appears from your photo that your hair loss is limited to the frontal to mid scalp , so this would not be too much to restore. However you will most likely require more than one procedure in order to keep the hair looking normal as further hair loss occurs. This loss can be slowed by taking Propecia