Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder in which people feel an obsessive urge to pull out their hair.
The condition is more common in women than men and often starts in the teen years.It can be associated with anxiety, negative self-image, or stress.
Though people with trichotillomania have different habits, generally the hair they pull out involves the eyebrows, eyelashes, and/or scalp.The lack of hair can lead to embarrassment and often shame and may keep people from seeking medical attention because they don’t want their doctor to see the bald spots.
It is important to seek treatment for trichotillomania. Over time, permanent damage to the skin and hair follicles may occur. As the triggers differ from people to people, treatments also differ.
Some people need medications to quell their hair pulling. Others do okay with cognitive behavior therapies or supportive group treatments. Only after a successful treatment can you start considering hair transplant surgery as a means to helping you grow hair in areas where permanent damage is present.
How a Hair Transplant Works
Hair transplants are an outpatient surgery. That means you do not have to stay overnight in a hospital or medical facility. Most procedures are performed under oral sedation and local anesthesia.
The hair transplant surgeon removes a donor strip from the back or side of the scalp. This strip is then dissected under a microscope to create small grafts that are transplanted into the bald area. The area where the donor strip came from is then sutured closed. This does create a fine linear scar that is easily hidden by the hair.
If you wish to avoid altogether the fine line linear scar left after the strip of tissue is removed, follicular unit extraction is another option. With follicular unit extraction, typically a specially designed drill system punches out individual grafts.
It takes longer to complete, but the miniscule dots left behind form scars that are barely noticeable. In fact, 7 out of 10 patients cannot even see the scars that remain after follicular unit extraction.
Following the surgery, you go home and rest for a day or two. At that point, you can return to work and light activities. You do need to refrain from heavier activities for five days. Transplanted hairs fall out after three weeks and then regrow a few months later.
Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a renowned hair transplant surgeon with offices in New York City and Miami. In addition to scalp hair transplants, he also performs beard hair transplants, body hair transplants, and eyebrow transplants. Body hair transplants include transplants to the chest and the pubic area.
View some of his before and after pictures on the body hair transplant page. When you’ve found a trichotillomania treatment that works for you, make an appointment at the Foundation for Hair Restoration by calling (212) 759-3484 in New York and (305) 666-1774 in Miami.