This article is the second part of treatment and transplants. Please read article 1 below this one prior.
Treatments work! YES! However, as I wrote in Part 1, you must understand what “WORK” means.
All too often I see patients from other clinics who got suckered into spending thousands of dollars on treatments that are not even approved/proven/shown to work or are suckered into treatments that do work but only under certain circumstances. Again read article 1 to know what the overview of these are.
On to Transplants and Treatments. Again, this article really is long overdue.
Let’s start off with men:
Patient 1 is 50 years old walks in and looks like this:
Patient 2 is 20 years old walks in and looks like this:
Yes of course this is the same photo. Realize though that we get guys with the exact type of hair loss pattern but one may only be 20 years of age and the other 60 years of age. The approach, though the hair loss pattern is the same, is very different.
For patient 2 (20 years of age), I would tell him that he has extensive hair loss for his age and that he MUST do treatments in order to hold on to his hair. Why? For the simple reason – with hair loss so young – he is going to lose far more hair. The earlier your hair loss begins the more you are going to lose (this is not always true but 95% of the time it does). I’ll then explain to him that if he loses more than 50% of his hair we will never have enough hair available in the areas we take hair from for hair transplants to give him back a full head of hair. Does this make sense? Meaning – over a lifetime the average gentleman over many surgeries will have up to about 10,000 grafts we can take. Meaning if you lose more than 10,000 grafts (most guys have about 25,000-30,000 grafts on their head in the areas they can lose it) you mathematically wont have enough hair available to replace the grafts you lost.
The key here is understanding that treatments are MOST effective for those who have barely lost any hair. Yes you may thicken your hair, but why worry about thickening your hair if you start on treatments at the first sign of hair loss when you have an almost full head of hair? It’s a no brainer.
For patient 1: I’d ask him what his goals are. If he said he was reasonable happy with the head of hair he had and wanted to try to slightly thicken the hair – I’d tell him to do treatments as there is a high percent chance (60-80% depending the degree of re-growth) to thicken his hair. If he said he wanted a lot more hair – I would tell him to do a hair transplant. I would not tell this patient he needs or MUST do treatments at his age as he is unlikely to lose a lot more hair. This would be at his personal discretion but not a necessity due to his age unlike patient 2.
As a general rule of thumb, younger patients are best to do treatments to begin with and older patients (let’s say 40 an up) need to weigh the financial and results in pros and cons of treatments to decide if it is worth it to them.
I won’t show a photo. Right now – the reality is very simple. When females lose hair they lose the hair universally in a diffused thinning pattern thoughout the entire head in about 95% of cases. In this instance – if you have genetic hair loss and are female – even if you wanted to do a hair transplant – I would explain to you that unlike men who have a safe zone at the back and sides of the head which will never die, females do not have a safe zone. This means that even if I take hair from the sides and back of the head and transplant these grafts into the hairline or crown, because they are not genetically resistant to hair loss, there is a high percent chance that those hairs will fall out over the course of several years as the hair loss progresses. What this means is that a female MUST do treatments first to stabilize hair loss and after 6month to 2 years when we are certain the treatments are effective we can then say to a female patient they can do a transplant provided they continue using treatments to ensure the transplanted hairs will not fall out. If we do a hair tranpslant on them and they decide to discontinue treatments then their genetic hair loss will continue and they will lose the transplanted hairs along with the rest of the hair.
I hope this was helpful. In the next article I will talk about Laser Light Therapy (LLLT), what it does and provide photos to show REALISTIC results that you can expect from it.