Hi everyone. If you have read these articles on a regular basis you will by now know a few important things.
1) NEVER CHEAP OUT ON GETTING A TRANSPLANT! If you’re not paying around the 7-15 thousand dollar mark – you are going to a bad clinic that does not do good work in North America. If you want to save money – don’t eat out, buy a cheaper car, when it comes to a surgery – this is not the time to go in with the mentality of “I want to save.” If you do – you will get at best an average result and you’ll need to spend more money to get it fixed and now you wont have a choice because it will look unnatural and pluggy. I know – I had 7 guys come in this past week alone from local clinics. About half of our surgeries over the past 2 months have been repair.
2) On to the article…
I want to talk about a very special case. I will call him Jim. Jim is 22 years old. He has frontal hair loss and is clearly going to lose hair in the crown. All the males in his family have a full head of hair and he’s the black genetic sheep in the family. He is on finasteride (propecia) + Rogaine (5%) and Laser Light Therapy as of now. So we have this young man where I have no idea what the final pattern will be but I know it will at least be a Norwood 5 (Hair loss in the hairline and crown) and perhaps more so. I would NEVER consider doing a transplant on someone this young, until this young man came into my office and when I asked “What are you hoping we can do for you” he could not speak, he was choked up, and started crying. His hair loss had/has destroyed him. Some men at this age will find it bother’s them, but not to a degree where it will impact their ability to have enough confidence to date, live life and be happy. For Jim, this was not the case. Now, some people may say that this is more psychological and that is where and how this should be addressed rather than doing something cosmetical, but I can tell you honestly that we have cases like that which we do not do; however, Jim is like me when I was 22, looked into the mirror, and saw a young man, finally coming into his own and a balding old man at the same time. I was cheated of my youth, I was cheated of my time as a young man when I was supposed to be at my best. It destroyed me too. I had a transplant at a young age much to everyone’s disagreement and at 31 I still have a full head of hair and it saved my 20′s from being horrible.
Now, Jim’s hair loss is much worse than mine was, our stories are different but the bottom line is this; There are all the long term risks of doing a transplant so young; however, when a young man is not willing/wanting to go to school because he is balding, do you deny him? I knew if we did that someone this age would seek out a transplant and someone, somewhere would give it to him and it would be a Sh** result. I knew that by me agreeing to the transplant on him I could control his result to the best of my ability and minmize the negatives.
I said to him that I would do it under several conditions:
1) He would have to go on all FDA approved treatments
2) He would have to STAY on all FDA approved treatments
3) I designed a recessed hairline that was appropriate enough for his age but would see him well into his 50′s looking good with the hairline. We went with a lower density transplant relative to his age – about 40 FU/cm2 and we used about 2000 grafts. He has another 7000 grafts left over which will leave him enough hair (and he will need it for sure) to fill in the spots and gaps as he ages through his 20′s, 30′s and 40′s. He may one day end up with a thinning crown, but he will have a solid head of hair in the hairline, mid-scalp and crown at least through his 20′s and mid 30′s and enough hair to ensure he looks good for the rest of his life.
He cried when I said I would do it, then he was slightly upset when I told him the conditions of the higher hair line. However, in the end, when all is said and done, the transplant will grow in – he won’t love the higher hairline, but he will be happy enough to move on with his life through his 20′s and when he ages he will come to appreciate what we did for him and I hope, that in his 50′s and 60′s what we have done is the right thing for him. Only time will tell. The bottom line is this. I had hair in my youth and it defined my age and confidence. When I turned 30, I had some lines and wrinkles starting, but I had my hair and it made me feel young and good about myself. I may end up with a bald spot in my 50′s; however, many men who come in at 50 are happy with a bald spot in the crown and they want a hair line and that’s it. When it comes to cosmetic surgery there is general guidelines, but in every case, at an ethical clinic like ours at least, we try to to the right thing and sometimes the right thing is taking a risk on a young man whose life was destroyed by his hair loss and we helped him get his confidence and life back on track at the most enjoyable age of our youth when you are coming into your own but still have your life completely before you.
Have a great weekend