Medical hair restoration involves the surgical transplantation of hair follicles from the permanent zone, at the back of the head, to thinning or balding regions of the crown, top or frontal hairline regions. Medical hair restoration can be a great option and serve as a life-long solution for hair loss sufferers, yet it is not for everyone. This article discusses hair restoration surgery and will help you assess whether you are a good candidate for medical hair restoration.
One of the most important concepts to understand about medical hair restoration is that hair loss is a lifelong process. Although individuals generally have a genetic predisposition to baldness, and hair loss can occur in certain ‘patterns’, the full extent and time-frame of hair loss remain quite unpredictable. For this reason, we always encourage patients undergoing medical hair restoration to plan for a ‘worst-case scenario’. It is important that you do not jump into a large procedure too early, as donor supply is finite and the last thing you want to do is deplete your donor supply prematurely. Young men are generally discouraged from pursuing medical hair restoration until they are older and their hair loss appears to have stabilized.
Medical therapies (such as finasteride and minoxidil) may help slow or stop the progression of hair loss, at least temporarily. We encourage all medical hair restoration patients to take one or both of these medications for at least 6 months to a year prior to undergoing surgery. Even if they do not work to restore lost hair, slowing the hair loss process buys the patient more time and means that they will likely require fewer grafts and hair restoration procedures over the course of their lifetime.
Another consideration, when it comes to deciding whether medical hair restoration is right for you, involves your hair characteristics. Hair color, as it relates to underlying skin color, is one such factor. The less contrast there is between the hair and the scalp, the better potential coverage will be following hair restoration surgery. The degree of curl will also affect the outcome of a medical hair restoration procedure, as greater curl or wave can provide additional coverage. Finally, a higher hair caliber can positively impact the coverage you ultimately achieve. More advanced procedures, such as the Cole Isolation Technique (CIT), allow physicians to use the most positive attributes of every hair type to achieve the best results possible. In addition to general hair characteristics, it is important to consider the density of the donor supply you have available to transplant. It is more difficult for individuals with very fine and sparse hair to achieve an acceptable level of density from a medical hair restoration procedure.
Many hair loss sufferers want to find a solution that will restore their hair fully and instantly. However, medical hair restoration surgery is a major decision that requires careful research and thought prior to proceeding. Jumping into medical hair restoration surgery too early, or if you are an unsuitable candidate altogether, can lead to future frustration and heartbreak. Make sure you take the time to research various techniques, surgeons, and methods and be sure to speak to your physician about developing a long-term plan for combating hair loss. Medical hair restoration is a great advancement that has restored the hair and confidence of many individuals; however, it is not a ‘quick fix’ that should be approached blindly.