Thank you for your question, ducktape. I suggest that your son wait to undergo a NeoGraft procedure. That said, there is no harm in your 21 year old son consulting with a board certified hair specialist. While your son is too young to be recommended for the procedure, your son can explore other hair growth techniques and hair loss preventative measures as he builds a rapport with a physician he trusts so that they can revisit NeoGraft later on.
My professional opinion would be to wait. 21 is too early to undergo a hair transplant procedure. Your son should look into medical management of hair loss and have his scalp examined by an experienced hair restoration specialist to evaluate the reason for his hair loss and make some recommendations. Surgery should never be the first option especially in a 21 year old who's future hairloss pattern is unknown.
Hairloss with Younger Patients
Neograft is certainly suitable for someone age 21 with male pattern balding and will restore the hair lost. However, it is important to consider the possible need for additional procedure(s) in the future due to potential ongoing hair loss as he ages. One of the many benefits of Neograft technology is there are no visible scars. The preservation or maintenance of the current hair is something to discuss with your surgeon.
Unless we are focusing on a scar of some nature, 21 is probably too early to start grafting to combat male pattern hair loss.
There will always be a scar.
Any cut on the skin will leave a scar.
The Neograft terminology is often misused as a type or the name of a surgical technique.
However, "Neograft" tool is just another instrument in carrying out the FUE method of harvesting of hair.
Neograft or FUE will leave hundreds or thousands of dot scars that are about 1mm in size where the hairs were harvested.
Neograft Hair Transplant on young patients
Although Neograft Hair Transplantations do not have linear scars in the back of the head which is better for patients of all ages, I do not recommend hair transplantation on young patients who are naturally getting thin hair or balding. If there is a reason for the hair loss such as trauma, this can be used. But, if the hair loss is simply natural, it is difficult to know what the final hair loss pattern will be until the patient is in their 30s. If the 20 year old male has a Hair Transplantation, he may lose hair behind the transplant which will look very unnatural and require further transplantation sessions. A better option for young patients is PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) which is taken from a blood draw and the patient's own growth factors are isolated and used to fortify and grow the current hair). Also increasing the protein in your diet and taking multivitamins high in Biotin, Vit A, C, and E can improve hair. Best wishes!
Risk of Scarring in 21 year old son
One of the biggest advantages using the Neograft procedure is to avoid a long posterior scalp incision and scar that has the definite potential of being quite visible if the hair thins in back of the head or if one wears a military haircut style, then there is a very strong possibility that the scar will be visible.
This complication or scalp defect does not occur with the Neograft procedure and is one of the main reasons to consider the Neograft procedure if you are in the least bit apprehensive about a potential scar to the back of the scalp.
In my practice I have extensive experience in doing Neograft procedures in young men in their 20's and it's for exactly this reason - that they fear the potential of a long visible scar
to the back of the head or the donor site where the hair is taken. It's always advisable to consider the " What If 's " and how a individual wishes to style their hair, and this decision should not be dependent upon a scar or defect but their personal preference !
Neograft in young patients
Neo graft is an instrument that is used to do FUE. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a revival of the old punch technique obtaining donor hair with a small circular cutting instrument. These punches are used to harvest follicular units one at a time from the donor area. Each harvest or extraction creates a small circular scar. Since this is a blind extraction from the surface, There are always some collateral damage to the surrounding hair thereby limiting the safe donor hair. Neograft has a bigger tip therefore leaves even larger circular scars and damaging more collateral hair. Since this does not require any training, many clinics that do not specialize in hair transplantation get these instruments and use it as a side job. Since your sons donor hair is limited, if the extraction is not done by a hair restoration specialist he may use up most of your donor hair, having thinned out donor area, and also damaged hair to use in the recipient area which limit any improvement from hair transplantation. So word of advise, if you want to help your son, take your time do some research and do not chose a method based on marketing. Make sure all the options are explained to for your son and the treatment is customized based on his best interest and concerns. All of that said, at this age it is not recommended to do hair transplant, talk to a hair transplant specialist to see what are his best options and how to customize a plan for now and in the long run.
You must seek out an experienced Neograft practice with a physician experienced in hair replacement. Check out the doctors board certification, review many photos of cases similar to your son's situation.
A WORD,OF ADVICE: it is hard to watch a young man lose his hair, starting this process at such a young age means he will most likely need several sessions of transplantation as he ages. He will one day run out of donor hair so strategic planning needs to be done now. A long term preservation plan using medications, low level laser and PRP need to be discussed. I rarely perform replacement on young men of his age. I try preservation therapies at his age.
For someone age 21, you need to think carefully about the road ahead. Planning for, most likely future loss and graft placement will be key. Future loss and graft placement will be key. Lengthy discussion will be needed on preservation of existing hair, (or a last retarding loss). You want the results from today to match what things should be 20-30 years down the road.