24 years old, hairline has been receding for 5 years. Am I a good candidate for Hair Transplant? (photo)
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Doctor Answers 7
Why hair transplants are not advised for men in their 20s, and stopping progressive hair loss and thickening thinning hair
Most transplant surgeons choose not to operate on patients in their 20s because of significant limitations of hair transplant surgery. The problem is that the patient is losing hair far greater than the amount of hair available to restore what's lost. Transplant hairs are taken from the donor area which has a limited amount of hairs. Today, it’s popular to perform procedures called follicular unit extractions (FUEs) and there are claims about "mega sessions" of thousands of hairs being transferred. Unfortunately, the donor area is very limited. If someone does get a transplant, they would still continue to recede and get another transplant, then another until they run out of donor hair.
In our practice, we developed a method called Hair Regeneration which is not surgery but an injection. This method was developed using a material called extracellular matrix (ECM)derived from pig bladder and combining it with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Extracellular matrix is a material that was originally designed for wound healing. It allows the duplication of cells native to a particular area, for example if it is applied to a muscle, it regenerates muscle, or if applied to skin, it regenerates skin. While ECM does not duplicate or clone hair, it was noted that when used it to assist in the healing of a donor area for a strip method for hair transplant, the thinning hairs became thicker.
In the past several years, we have been developing a formulation and delivery technique called Hair Regeneration. It restores the cells and signals necessary to reverse the thinning process - instead of hairs becoming thinner, they become thicker. We always advise prospective patients to get this done sooner because we can save the hairs that are thinning, but we can’t save the hairs that are gone.
You also have the option for the two FDA approved medications: minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil does not help reverse hair thinning but appears to prolong the presence of hair that’s thinning on the scalp which makes the hair look a bit thicker. On the other hand, finasteride blocks an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which reduces dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can cause hair follicles that are susceptible to the effects to DHT to thin. Finasteride can reduce DHT in certain people with male pattern hair loss, so they can get improvement. Unfortunately, people who are younger and have progression of frontal recession tend to not respond well to finasteride. There is also a lot of concern with the long-term sexual side effects of finasteride.
I would advise you to learn more about Hair Regeneration. Unfortunately, we don’t have specifics as to the exact reason why this works. It appears that the basic science of hair growth has yet to discover all of the critical stem cells and signals necessary for hair growth, which is why hair cloning remain elusive, and all of the biotechnology companies who tried to corner the market of hair loss have not done very well. Fortunately, we have been successful in trying to use this material which is already FDA approved and using it in an off label way to treat hair loss. I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for your question.
24 and wants a hair transplant
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24 years old, hairline has been receding for 5 years. Am I a good candidate for Hair Transplant?
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.