I am considering hair transplant but have a question that I cannot find the answer to on any website. What are the long term cosmetic issues associated with a younger person (I am 26) who has hair transplant surgery?
In other words, my hair has begun to recede to an NW 3 (approx.). If I was to have transplants, and several years later my hair line continued to recede, wouldn’t that make an unnatural and strange looking hairline? I.e. there would be transplanted hair at the very front, then further up the scalp there would be a zone with thin or non-existent hair, then there would by my natural hairline.
I hope I have adequately explained myself. Any info you could provide would be great.
This is a great subject, one that is important to everyone who undergoes a hair transplant. In essence, JX is asking, “How does the hair transplant fit into the changes that keep producing more hair loss?” Much of this material is covered in a book I wrote, The Patient’s Guide to Hair Restoration. You can get a free copy of it by calling my office at 800-NEW-HAIR, or visting our website.
Everyone will lose hair to whatever their genetic pattern will eventually be. Those with advanced balding, usually develop indications of their pattern by the mid-twenties. Most will have their pattern evident by the time they reach 30. It is rare that people will start with hair loss beyond their 30th birthday so a good examination by a competent doctor will show the signs of ‘miniaturization’ on microscopic examination of the hair throughout the head. JX reports a Class 3 pattern hair loss at 26 years of age. Assuming that the pattern will not progress much further (that there is no ‘miniaturization’ of the hair in the mid head or crown), it would be safe to assume that he will not develop an advanced hair loss pattern and that a hair transplant program will never make him abnormal as he progresses slightly from this pattern. If he wishes to get the hair transplanted in the front to return his hair to its normal mature position, he can do this easily. If he uses the drug Propecia, his ability to slow down or stop the hair loss is good. There is now 8 years of good data on Propecia’s ability to slow the hair loss down, but only time will tell us if the medication can continue to be effective in the long term.
I generally tell my patients to create a Worst Case Master Plan which assumes that progressive hair loss will occur. With that Master Plan, you can estimate what might happen and plan for it both economically and socially. The one evident thing to point out is that once a hair transplant process is started, it should be followed with more transplants until the loss stabilizes or it takes you to another hair loss pattern that is found normally in nature. Frontal hair loss only commits the patient to frontal work, not to crown work. Worst, worst case is that with transplants in the front, the balding in the back will reflect what many men have naturally: a full-haired frontal look and a balding or thinning crown. This last scenario is JX’s worst case. If he wishes to see his worst case, he can visit me and look at my before pictures. I had a normal full front of thick hair (naturally) and a bald crown (which I elected to transplant but could have left it alone as an alternative option).