Dear Dr. Rassman,
I find your blog very informative. I am looking for answers to the following questions:
- How is the success measured in hair transplant?
- What is the life span of transplanted hair follicles? (without any minoxidil/propecia)
- How does hair transplant compare to just minox/prop in terms of effectiveness and durability?
- Is hair transplant surgery proven via large scale studies done in compliance with standards that you would like to see in any other hairloss treatment before you could accept them?
- The patient and doctor have to have specific and attainable goals before any surgery. No surgery will make you look like Elvis… in other words, no surgery will replace all the hairs you lost. So the success of the surgery is measured by the patient with realistic goals in mind.
- Transplanted hair has the same life span as the hair on the back of the head (the donor area), because that is where it comes from. As long as there is no disease present that would cause that area to lose hair (uncommon), the hair’s life span is until you die.
- Transplanted hair is genetically “strong” hair that is not affected by DHT or genetic balding. Drugs (Rogaine and Propecia) are meant for balding and thinning hair that is affected by DHT (genetic balding).
- Hair transplantation in one form or another has been practiced on a commercial scale since the 1950s! I have seen a number of patients who were transplanted in the 1950s and 1960s with the old hair plugs and they are still growing (for better or worse). It is in essence an autologous organ transplant, with each hair being its own organ, and it has been proven to work. Numerous studies exist that prove its success, but the cosmetic success and making it look natural is another issue that involves technique and artistry. I would argue the LARGE scale studies are right in front of you when you look at all the NHI patients in our gallery.