What do Doctors look at when you ask if you can have a hair transplant? To ensure you can achieve the best result from surgical hair restoration. There are a number of aspects both medical and social that play a role.
Some aspects can be slightly subjective. How a Doctor perceives the importance of the situation such as age. Age and hair loss stage can impact on the planning of a hair transplant. To ensure today and long-term a natural look can be maintained.
So, what would a professional start to look at first?
• Gender, age, illnesses and treatments of interest (non-hair related), allergies, drug reactions
• Family Hair Loss History, Maternal and Paternal Sides
• Hair Loss Treatments Used
• Previous Hair Transplants (Technique and Graft Numbers)
• Hair Loss Stage (Norwood/Ludwig Scale)
• Measuring Donor Hair Density Recipient Area Planning
• Goals and Expectations
Hair Transplant Techniques – how do they differ?
A hair transplant works because our hair around the sides and back is genetically strong (donor hair). We can remove some of this hair to replace lost hair over the top of the scalp (recipient area). There are two hair transplant techniques, FUT/FUSS and FUE
They differ in how the hair is removed from the sides and back of the head, the “donor area”, the rest of the procedure is basically the same.
Good and Bad Candidates
Ideal hair characteristics include:
High FU density hair count,
Thick hair shaft,
Curly or wavy hair
Low contrast between your skin colour and your hair colour
Not all candidates with advanced hair loss can achieve total coverage. A hair transplant is a part illusion of hair density. As full head of hair cannot be achieved. Some hair length is required to keep the illusion of fullness. That is why a hair transplant works. And can give a Class 5 and 6 the appearance of coverage and density. Without matching hair for hair on the head.
Good Quality Donor Area
High hair density, minimal miniaturised hair, good hair characteristics
Hairline placement and coverage achievable and sensible with long-term planning.
Understanding the Basic Principles of a Hair Transplant
Technically a Poor Candidate
Poor Donor Characteristics – Regardless if the hair loss stage is high or low, regardless of age, a hair transplant relies totally on how much and the quality of hair can safely be extracted from around the sides and back, now and over time and maintain a natural looking result.
Low Hair Density/Low Hair Count – Even if hair loss is minimal and a one-off procedure can achieve a result, as hair loss is progressive if future hair loss cannot be treated a first procedure should not be undergone. A low hair count reduces the coverage and density that can be achieved.
Retrograde Alopecia – Where the finer nape neck hair or around the ears begin to enter the traditional safe donor zone
Fine or Miniaturising Hair – Fine hair reduces the quality of the result, sometimes requiring double the number of grafts to cover a like for like area, not achieving the desired result of blocking scalp visibility. Miniaturised hair is weak and potential will not grow once transplanted.
Scalp Quality/Infections – Should be treated prior to a hair transplant. Scarring will reduce the number of grafts that can be removed, and potentially will become visible as the hair density is reduced after a hair transplant.
DUPA – (diffused unpatterned alopecia). A hair loss condition that normally affects the entire head of hair, a greatly reduced hair density with often fine and wispy hair quality.
Expectations and Education
Age – A young candidate is not always a non-candidate. But it depends on the current hair loss stage. There is a difference between a maturing hair line and male pattern baldness. A treatment programme should be the first option, not a hair transplant. A fixed low hairline will give short-term happiness and mid to long-term problems.
Limitations – Limitations are caused by the demand for hair to cover a surface area of hair loss. The lower the hairline increases the potential surface area to be treated. A hair transplant relies on a finite amount of hair. It is important the candidate understands they cannot achieve a full head of hair.
Techniques – Often a candidate has a specific technique in mind. The correct technique is not always decided on by choice. But often by necessity. One technique may be preferred over another. Maybe because of the number of graft required. Or, limitations of the donor area.