There are unique considerations when performing hair transplants to address a variety of hair needs in black patients. African American patients experiencing hair loss, thinning hair, as well as overly high hairlines in black women, and absent or thin eyebrows select Dr. Epstein more than perhaps any doctor in the country.
Dr. Epstein has extensive experience in providing a variety of solutions, both non-invasively and with procedures for African American patients, not only because of his office locations in the ethnically diverse cities of Miami and New York City, but also because patients from throughout the world travel to him to benefit from his expertise in this area. Dr. Epstein’s patients currently visit from all 50 states as well as over 75 countries throughout the world, including many from Washington DC, Atlanta, NYC, Dallas, and Los Angeles, London and throughout Europe, the Bahamas and Caribbean, as well as various parts of Africa.
Right from his early years in practice in the mid-1990s, Dr. Epstein developed techniques that make it possible to achieve consistent hair regrowth in black patients for the maximum benefit. Additionally, Dr. Epstein, through his Women’s Center for Hair Loss, can help determine the cause or causes for the hair loss in patients, which in African American and Caribbean women can include genetically high hairlines, traction alopecia, scarring alopecia, hair breakage due to overly harsh chemicals, and a variety of imbalances in the body including low iron levels (anemia), thyroid issues, and other medical conditions.
Below is a review of the most important hair challenges and hair loss problems in African-Americans and Caribbean patients and information on how Dr. Epstein may be of service in addressing and solving these common occurrences.
Until approximately five years ago, all hair transplants had to be performed using the strip technique (commonly also called FUT, FUM, or FUG, among others), which left a typically fine line scar in the back of the head. While not a problem for most men and nearly all women who wear their hair with plenty of length to cover and conceal the fine line scar, for men who like to cut their hair very short or shave it altogether this linear scar is usually unacceptable, for it can be visible with this shorter hair.
The FUE (follicular unit extraction) technique is the ideal solution for this challenge, because it leaves NO linear donor site scar. Rather than requiring an incision along the back of the head, the FUE technique involves the individual removal of hair grafts, one at a time, from the back and sides of the head where the donor hair is “permanent” as it grows for a lifetime and is not affected by typical male pattern hair loss, using tiny punches less than 1mm in size punches. Using this delicate technique, Dr. Epstein and his team typically perform three FUE procedures weekly and are able to achieve very good to excellent hair regrowth in patients, many of whom are men of African ethnicity who like to shave their head or keep their hair very short. In fact, as you can see from some of the examples below, Dr. Epstein achieves some of his best FUE results in black men.
One of the more common types of hair issues in women of African ethnicity is a high hairline. This overly high hairline, and resultant high forehead, is oftentimes the result of genetics, and other times can be the result of progressive hair loss whether due to genetics or to traction alopecia from tight braiding of hair over a period of years. In each of these cases, the overly high forehead can be treated through one of two different treatment techniques. One of these is the surgical hairline advancement (SHA) technique, a 90 minute procedure that in one-step can bring forward the high hairline by as much as 6 cm (over 2 inches) in women who have an elastic scalp. The other technique is hair transplantation, where hairs from the permanent back of the scalp are removed through a single incision then transplanted into areas of hair loss along the hairline, as well as any other areas where there is hair loss. In order to obtain excellent results, this procedure- which can be very challenging- needs to be done in a certain way, in order to achieve good regrowth of the hair grafts.
Along with these two procedures, Dr. Epstein and his Co-Director of the Women’s Center for Hair Loss, Anthony Bared, MD, can perform a workup of the hair loss in order to find solutions that may slow down or prevent altogether any further hair loss. Many of Dr. Epstein’s and Dr. Bared’s female patients select Dr. Bared to help identify, diagnose, and treat the root causes of hair loss to first stabilize and hopefully reverse the loss. Then, once stabilized, if there are still areas of loss to be filled in or a hairline to be lowered, Dr. Epstein can perform the procedures outlined here to create even more impressive results. There are a variety of causes for this hair loss, so there are a variety of solutions that may include medications and laser light therapy- all of which can be effective in thinning hair. Together, Dr. Bared and Dr. Epstein bring over 25 years’ worth of experience.
Some of the main concern of patients of African and Caribbean ethnicity, considering undergoing a hair transplant procedure, is whether their hair style will interfere with the ability to receive a hair transplant. For shaved hair, as described above, the FUE technique avoids altogether a linear donor site scar so this is not a problem. For patients who style their hair with locks and braids, most of the time it is NOT necessary to cut or remove these locks. Rather, Dr. Epstein has experience in working in between these hair styles, occasionally loosening the locks to get the maximum number of hairs placed on the scalp. For the donor area in the back of the scalp, any hair extensions or braids can be preserved for the most part, with the donor site incision able to be made between these locks. Lastly, patients are always advised that hair relaxers—especially those done with harsh chemicals—can damage all hair, not just transplanted hairs, and therefore should be avoided. Hot irons are usually preferable to these chemicals.
For more information or for a complimentary office consultation or online consultation, call our offices at (305) 666-1774 or click here to submit a simple inquiry. We look forward to serving you.