Millions of people suffer from severely thinning hair and baldness. The causes of these conditions are multiple. One type of permanent hair loss is caused by continually wearing the hair in tight braids or corn rows. Some African-American hairstyles promote this type of baldness, which destroys the hair follicles (roots) over time. Another type of hair loss is pattern baldness, a genetic condition that occurs most often in men but can also occur with less intensity in women.
Also known as male pattern baldness, this condition is caused by excessive amounts of the hormone DHT, which in turn is caused by excessive levels of testosterone in the blood. DHT in large amounts attacks and destroys hair follicles, causing baldness on the top part of the head. Hair loss can be a side effect of some medications and of certain medical conditions. Thyroid and anemic disorders may result in hair loss. Ending the medication or restoring the gland or organ to normal functioning will stop more hair from falling out, but it won't restore hair to the areas where hair follicles have died.
This means a person may be left with permanently thinned hair or bald spots. There are many pills and potions, gimmicks and gadgets on the market claiming to restore hair to the hairless. Many of them are frauds, and a few of them produce some hair, but even then the hair is often of questionable quality. Hair may fall out when the hair-loss drug or treatment is discontinued.
There is one permanent solution to hair loss that is not dependent on a lifelong regimen of medication, doesn't require continuing therapy and doesn't produce a constant drain on one's finances. That solution is hair transplantation, or permanent hair replacement surgery. In this procedure, a small strip incision is made on the back of the head where hair is plentiful and genetically programmed to grow throughout life (even in cases of pattern baldness).
The area is sutured shut, with hair covering it. From each tiny extracted strip, up to three-thousand hair follicles are harvested, separated into individual units, and inserted into tiny incisions in the scalp where hair is needed. The surgery requires just a local anesthetic and is normally accomplished in two three-to-five-hour sessions. This is adequate to create coverage, and the transplanted hair follicles normally produce hair for the rest of one's life.
This is because the transplanted hair was harvested from the area of the head that is genetically resistant to thinning. The secret to successful hair transplant surgery is having the operation performed by a knowledgeable and very experienced doctor. Such doctors are rare. Much more common are plastic surgeons and dermatologists who do a few hair replacement surgeries a month, or hair transplant companies that are merely sales offices importing inexperienced doctors. Look for a doctor who does hair replacement exclusively and who performs this type of surgery every day. It is good to see a procedure, but most important is to be able to speak with as many happy patients as you wish.
A doctor who is part of a large group or who has been in practice just a few years may not have done thousands of cases. Ask how many cases that doctor has personally performed and ask to speak with a few of them. If you insist on the best, you will be delighted with the results. Doctors less experienced use outdated techniques which typically deliver less than delightful outcomes. Doll-head hair (where hair grows out of little holes in clusters), freakish hairlines and other disasters commonly result. Permanent hair replacement is a once-in-a-lifetime gift you give yourself.
Do it right the first time, and you will never regret it.
Dr. Lawrence Shapiro has performed over 10,000 permanent surgeries in the last 18 years in his hair restoration Florida clinics. He was the first U.S. doctor to practice strip-incision and micro-mini grafts/follicular unit techniques. Call him at 1-800-799-4247, or visit his website.