Over the years, there have been plenty of gimmicks when it came to hair loss or hair loss treatments. There have also been a number of legitimate treatments that seem a bit gimmicky or too good to be true. Separating fact from fiction can be tricky when it comes to hair loss treatments. Some people have it in their heads that one treatment is preferable to all others or that some medical options just won’t work. The truth is that some treatment options are better for some patients than others. It’s all about working with a hair restoration specialist to find out which option is the right one for you.
FUE Is Always Best
These days, there are two primary ways hair restoration surgery is performed. Follicular unit grafting (FUG) is the older method. It involves removing a strip of scalp from the donor area, then using the hair follicles in that strip for the transplant. The technique often leaves a patient with a long scar or incision line – usually less than 2 mm wide- across the back of the scalp.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a newer method for removing and transplanting hair. Unlike FUG, it doesn’t require a strip of scalp and hair to be removed. Instead, the surgeon removes each donor hair follicular units one by one. The follicles are “punched” out, leaving a tiny, less than 1 mm dot as a scar.
Since FUE was developed, a number of people have been under the false impression that it is has completely replaced FUG as a procedure. Clearly, a patient is going to want the small, barely there dots on the back of the head, rather than a long scar. But, FUG is still the preferred treatment option for a number of patients.
It’s often ideal for women who want hair restoration surgery, for several reasons. For one thing, FUE usually means that the surgeon has to shave the donor area. Few women want to have their head shaved, especially if their goal is to restore lost hair. The procedure is also not ideal in patients who have fine hairs in the donor area, which many women often do.
While FUE is a treatment option many patients have taken advantage of, it’s not always the best or the right choice. Working with a hair restoration surgeon will help a patient learn which surgical option best meets his or her needs.
Other Treatments Don’t Work
Since hair restoration surgery is the only permanent way to treat hair loss, some people assume that other treatments available, including medications such as finasteride and therapies such as laser light are ineffective and worthless. While these treatments don’t restore hair or completely stop hair loss, they do offer some help when it comes to slowing down the progression of hair loss.
Laser light therapy for hair loss helps to slow hair loss and can make existing hair thicker, making it look as though a patient has more hair on the scalp. The treatment is an option for both men and women who might not have enough hair loss to qualify for a hair transplant or who don’t have enough donor hairs to make the surgery effective.
Finasteride, or Propecia, is a medication often prescribed to men with male pattern baldness. The medicine is the only drug in pill form that’s FDA approved to treat hair loss in men. It works by blocking the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT, the hormone that contributes to follicle miniaturization and hair loss. The medication won’t regrow lost hair, but it can be an effective option for slowing down hair loss.
In a Few Years, We Won’t Need Hair Transplants
One last hair loss treatment myth is the belief that hair restoration surgery is going the way of the dinosaur and that in a few years, there will be no need for the procedure. In some cases, the myth stems from people’s desire not to have surgery if they don’t need it. The hope is that advances in medicine, in the form of treatments involving platelet rich plasma or stem cells, will make hair transplants a thing of the past.
In five years, it’s very unlikely that hair restoration surgery will be obsolete, replaced by PRP or stem cell therapies, according to hair restoration specialist Dr. Jeffrey Epstein. Both therapies are in the very early stages. There is hope, but people might need to wait a decade or longer before they’ll be able to say for sure whether newer technologies will be able to do away with hair restoration surgery as it’s known today.
Highly respected hair restoration surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein has two decades of experience performing hair transplants. He’s available to help patients decide on the treatment that is most appropriate for them based on the stage of their hair loss. Dr. Epstein sees patients in Miami and in New York City. For an appointment in Miami, call (305) 666-1774. Call (212) 759-3484 for an appointment in New York.