This article is to inform and guide individuals seeking solutions for hair loss by exploring the advantages and diverse non-surgical options available in the realm of hair restoration.
Hair is an essential component of personal identity and self-esteem. When individuals start to experience hair loss, thinning, bald spots, or breakage, it can be devastating to both. Today, there is a rising trend of seeking hair restoration treatments. Where there were limited options not but two decades prior, today there are several surgical and non-surgical options, each of which comes with different benefits and risks.
Surgical vs. non-surgical hair restoration treatment
If you are worried about hair loss, you might wonder whether surgical or non-surgical hair restoration is the better option.
Surgical options involve invasive surgery and anesthesia. These are typically conducted by removing hair from elsewhere and surgically implanting it on the head. During this procedure, a patient remains under anesthesia. Surgery and anesthesia come with inherent risks.
With hair restoration, non-surgical options are more versatile and equipped to tackle a broader range of hair loss issues and causes.
Surgical options can include surgeries that regrow the hair or hair restoration procedures that transplant hair after punching small holes in the scalp and grafting hair to new locations. All of these come with high costs, heavily invasive steps, a lot of recovery time, and don’t necessarily provide a natural look when everything is finished.
Non-surgical hair restoration procedure
Hair restoration without surgery is equally possible, and it comes with fewer risks and better options
Advantages of non-surgical hair restoration:
- Minimally invasive
The biggest advantage to a non-surgical hair restoration procedure is that it’s minimally invasive. There are so many options available that you can find things like Rogaine or topical solutions that don’t have any invasive procedures.
- Reduced recovery time
Depending on the option you choose for hair restoration, non-surgical options have reduced recovery time, especially because, again, they are minimally invasive. With things like hair systems or low-level laser therapy, you have a much faster recovery time compared to surgery.
Non-surgical hair restoration is cost-effective. Several treatments may be covered in part or in total by your insurance company. Even those that aren’t are significantly less expensive compared to a surgical option.
The average hair transplant cost is $7,425, but the number of grafts necessary can make that cost skyrocket up to $50,000. By comparison, the average cost of certain hair growth shampoos or platelet-rich plasma therapy treatments can be just $1,000-$2,000.
- Natural look
Depending on the non-surgical hair restoration option you choose, you get a more natural look. The cost of things like surgical interventions may limit how much of your scalp you want hair grafted to, and that can leave your head looking patchy. In comparison, non-surgical options can regrow your hair where it normally is, giving it a more natural look.
You have a lot of versatility when it comes to hair restoration without surgery. Non-surgical hair restoration comes in so many forms that you can choose the things with which you are most comfortable, the things that fit your budget, and the things that last the longest.
- Reduced risk of complications
There’s a very limited risk of complications because a non-surgical hair restoration procedure doesn’t require any invasive surgery. Moreover, it doesn’t require, in many cases, anesthesia ahead of time or prescription medications to deal with pain after the fact, both of which come with individual sets of risks.
Popular non-surgical hair restoration options
When it comes to hair restoration without surgery, there are more options than you might think.
Minoxidil is a topical solution that gets applied to your scalp to help with male or female pattern baldness. It can also be used in conjunction with other treatments like low-level laser therapy to double up on the non-surgical procedures used to stimulate circulation and hair growth.
This is a prescription medication that can be used to boost hair growth, especially when hair loss is the result of biological processes not functioning how they should.
Hair growth shampoos and topical solutions
Hair growth shampoos and topical solutions can help with regrowth if your hair loss is the result of dormant hair follicles. It’s a great way to encourage your hair follicles to get back on a regular schedule or cycle and boost overall health and strength.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
This type of non-surgical hair restoration treatment sends specific wavelengths of light to your scalp. This light stimulates the tissue to regrow, encourages regular hair growth cycles, and strengthens your hair follicles.
This type of treatment increases blood flow to your scalp, which is responsible for nearly 85% of hair loss cases.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
This type of therapy is another non-surgical restoration treatment that uses your platelets from your blood and injects them into the scalp. This process is designed to encourage better blood flow directly at the source, especially if there are hindrances or nutritional deficiencies that are causing problems with hair follicles and blood circulation.
This is one of the only options that requires injections, and that should be something you factor into your consideration.
Hair fibers and concealers
Hair fibers and concealers work similarly to hair wigs and SMP by providing something you can apply to your scalp to conceal bald spots.
Scalp micropigmentation (SMP)
Scalp micropigmentation is a hair replacement treatment that uses things like ink to add pigmentation to your scalp. This formulated ink helps fill in areas that might be thinner than the rest and replicates the illusion of natural hair.
Hair systems and wigs
Hair systems and wigs can give you options for boosting your self-esteem without taking any prescriptions or getting any injections. You can change wigs seamlessly to fit your mood.
No matter which of these you are considering, it’s important to:
1. Weigh your options. Only some of these options are going to be right for you.
Clarissa is terrified of needles. She is experiencing hair loss with bald patches, but she doesn’t want to undergo surgery or use needles. She is mostly worried about looking and feeling confident during meetings at work.
So in her case, Clarissa is better served by hair wigs she can swap based on her activities or concealers to help mask the thinning areas.
2. Explore possible contraindications for things like prescription medications
Markus is taking Rifampicin (rifampin) to treat his tuberculosis. As such, he cannot take propecia for hair loss because of the contraindications.
In his case, he is better off picking scalp micro pigmentation or laser surgery to encourage hair growth, rather than risk any complications with his existing medications.
3. Review your insurance coverage to see if anything is covered in part or in full
Linda has cancer. She is losing her hair. Her insurance will cover the costs of basic shampoos and wigs because her hair loss is part of her treatment.
But Mary, on the other hand, is not experiencing hair loss because of cancer treatment, just because of stress at work. So for Mary, her insurance likely won’t cover the cost of any treatment.
4. Check the costs
Albert is on a tight budget. He gets his retirement check every month but there isn’t a lot of extra spending money. So he wants to address his hair loss, but not if it costs more than $100.
In his case, surgery, SMP, laser treatment, or PRP therapy would be too expensive but shampoos and concealers wouldn’t be.
5. Speak with a professional about which option might be best given the causes of your condition
Denise is experiencing hair loss because of stress at work. John is experiencing male pattern baldness because of a genetic predisposition. Margaret is experiencing thinning and brittle hair because of a vitamin deficiency and her age.
In each of these cases, a doctor might work with the individuals to determine whether surgical or non-surgical options are better, and if non-surgical options are recommended, which ones will help mitigate hair loss given the cause.
If you are considering non-surgical hair restoration, make sure you review the advantages and the different options. Pick something with which you are most comfortable, something you can afford, and something that tackles the cause of your issue. It’s always important to consider non-surgical alternatives to surgery and seek professional advice.