Since hair plays a big role when it comes to self-expression and identity, finding out that you are losing your hair can be a trying experience. Through the years, people have gone to great lengths to cover up their hair loss, from unnatural looking toupees to hair loss potions that didn’t really do much. Fortunately, these days, you have a much more natural solution when it comes to hair loss: hair restoration surgery.
While not the option for everyone, and not suitable for all types of hair loss, a hair transplant can be a viable option for many. There are several things to consider before deciding to go forward with surgery. A hair restoration specialist can help you determine if the procedure suits you, or recommend another option instead.
You Want Something Permanent
Admittedly, there are a number of non-surgical options available to people who are suffering from hair loss. While these treatments, such as minoxidil or Rogaine, or laser treatments, can help slow down the progression of hair loss and in some cases can encourage thicker hair growth, they don’t offer a permanent solution. If you start using Rogaine, for example, you need to continue to use it. Once you stop applying it daily, hair loss will continue.
In contrast, a hair transplant provides permanent results for patients who have female or male pattern baldness. Hair on the top of the head can be affected by DHT, a hormone that shrinks the follicles. The hair that is transplanted to the top of the scalp isn’t affected by DHT, so the transplanted follicles will not shrink and the transplanted hair will not fall out, even after years and years.
You Have Lost a Sufficient Amount of Hair
It can be easy to panic first noticing an enlarged bald spot or after first noting that your hairline is back a little further than before. While many people want to do something about their hair loss, immediately, a hair transplant isn’t recommended for people who are in the very early stages of hair loss.
The results from the procedure are permanent, but that doesn’t mean that the surgery itself will put a stop to all future hair loss. Instead, hair loss will continue while the transplanted hair remains in place. You can have multiple procedures performed to keep up with your hair loss, but it’s often easier to wait until your hair loss has progressed enough before scheduling your surgery. It’s usually recommended that you wait several years after you’ve first noticed hair loss to start considering surgery.
You Understand What the Procedure Involves
Hair restoration surgery is generally less invasive than other surgeries, and is most often performed using a local anesthetic. Recovery is also a bit shorter than for other surgeries, and you might find yourself back at work within a few days, rather than within weeks.
It might not be very invasive, but that doesn’t mean that hair restoration is something to take lightly. Depending on the method your surgeon uses, the procedure may leave a fine line horizontal scar across the back of your scalp, where the transplanted hair follicles were removed. One method, follicular unit extraction, doesn’t leave a long scar, because the follicles are removed one by one, using a small punch device. Scarring from FUE is minimal and usually takes the form of small spots. It is because of this that the FUE procedure is now the most common performed by most of the top hair restoration practices today.
Typically, the head is shaved before FUE, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are aren’t comfortable with the idea of shaving your head, follicular unit grafting might be a better option.
You’re Able to Be Patient
It will take some time before the results of your hair transplant become visible. Usually, the hairs that are transplanted fall out again after a few weeks. That can be alarming, but you can rest assured that they will return. Typically, it takes about three months before the transplanted hairs begin to grow. After about ten months or a year, you should see the final results from the surgery.
Patience is required, while you wait for your new hair to grow. But, once that new hair is in, you can style it as if it had been there along. You can trim the hair, dye it, or use any products you want in it.
If you’ve been dealing with male or female pattern baldness for several years now and are ready to take the next step, it might be time to consider a hair restoration procedure. The surgery that’s right for you depends in part on the amount of your hair loss and the way you hope to wear your hair after it’s all over.
Hair restoration specialist Dr. Jeffrey Epstein sees patients in New York City and Miami, Florida. He can evaluate your hair and scalp and help you decide if surgery is right for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Epstein, call (212) 759-3484 in New York or (305) 666-1774 in Miami.