Planning - Treatment or Transplant

Norwood

Knowing what and when to do something about your hair loss is part of managing your expectations. Understanding what can realistically be achieved and long-term being happy with the results.

Maybe the biggest two aspects to consider will be your age and your hair loss stage. Genetic hair loss is often progressive.  Especially when in the early stages hard to predict the long-term pattern.

It is important to consider that a hair transplant is not a cure for hair loss. Also, fixing a low hairline is permanent. As a result, if hair loss continues that low hairline may not appear natural in the future. Treatment can help to maintain your existing hair. Also, add to a hair transplant result when used together.

There are a number of aspects to consider. These include age, current hair loss pattern, family hair loss history, general health and hair characteristics.
Managing Your Expectations

Understand a hair transplant cannot replace like for like hair lost. Simply, the maths does not allow for that. With surgical skill, the hair grafts are placed close together to mimic the look of nature. But the shorter the hair the scalp becomes more visible.  As a result, the look of high hair density is lost. The distribution of the hair follicles is another important factor.  Single hair units are first placed along the hairline. Then multiple hair units placed behind and over the top of the scalp. This uses the two, three and four hair units.

The donor hair characteristics must be taken into consideration. This, combined with the pattern of hair loss now and potentially in the future. Not everyone can achieve total restoration from hairline to the crown. Some may have to settle for partial coverage. Whereas others resolve to a lower hair density over the crown. This depends on how the hair loss pattern develops.

Hair loss is an emotive issue for many men and woman. Occasionally the heart can rule the head. With the desire to repair or replace the lost hair. It is important to calculate the options and pros and cons. It may well be necessary to compromise your expectations for your greater well-being.

Important Considerations
  • Your age now and at what age did you begin to lose your hair?
  • How progressive has your hair loss been?
  • What is your family‟s hair loss history, maternal and paternal?
  • How have you addressed your hair loss, tried various medication, if so how effective?
  • Have you undergone a hair transplant before, if so what technique, how long ago and how many grafts?
  • What are your objectives? Do you want to achieve conservative or aggressive coverage?
  • Where are your priorities? Front hairline, mid-scalp, crown, entire head, repair?
Age, a maturing hairline and future hair loss

As distressing as hair loss can be when young don´t allow your heart to rule your head. Always consider the consequences of your actions. Hair loss is progressive as well as unpredictable.  For example, the speed and final pattern of hair loss. The earlier hair loss begins the more likely the pattern will continue to an advanced stage. In a man´s early twenties the hormone levels are changing.  It is common for the hair quality to change and the hairline moves slightly.  This is known as a maturing hairline and not to be confused with male pattern baldness.

There should be caution when fixing a low, adolescent hairline. Especially when young and cannot take into consideration future hair loss. Even with a high-quality donor planning is vital.  Do not assume a low hairline design can be sustained.  Especially if hair loss continues and balanced hair coverage cannot be achieved. “Front-loading” a hair transplant automatically increases the area of hair loss. Often stabilising hair loss should be the first option. The best results from treatment are often gained in the early stages of hair loss.

How much hair can be transplanted from the donor area? 

Planning your hair transplant procedure is as important as it looking natural. A hair transplant result can sustain a natural look for years until hair loss progresses further. Then, it is vital an educated donor management plan had been used to ensure the new hair loss can be successfully treated. If too much hair had been removed in the first procedure or the extraction had damaged the remaining hair and skin it will hinder what can be performed in the future.

From the first hair transplant, the planning will determine your future hair restoration. Ultimately also your long-term happiness. Your initial satisfaction may turn sour.  If you find your progressive hair loss pattern cannot be repaired. You have no more hair to remove or a permanently damaged donor area.

A Clinic with your long-term best interest in mind will always leave you with options for the future and never take everything possible or maybe even more especially in the first procedure. With correct and careful planning, as hair loss progresses a hair transplant can maintain a balanced and natural looking head of hair.

Regardless of the technique used, the maths is the maths

It is often thought the higher the graft numbers the better. With FUE the donor area never changes. It remains the same dimensions around the back and sides of the head. What changes is the amount of hair that remains in the donor. The more hair removed results in less hair remaining, obviously.

On average, a man will have at least two hair transplants over their life.  Planning is important to ensure a natural coverage can be achieved over time.

The quality of your donor hair may not be the first priority. So be it if a little thin and patchy hair growth. You may simply shave the remaining hair to zero. Regardless, high-quality hair restoration is the priority of any ethical practitioner.

Hair Characteristics

Hair characteristics can cover a variety of factors. From the hair colour to the calibre or diameter of the hair. If the hair is curly or straight to the contrast of the hair against the skin complexion. All these aspects carry an important role for the doctor when planning your hair transplant.

One fundamental factor that helps to determine a person´s result is the diameter of the hair shaft. The number of hairs per follicular unit and their general hair characteristics. Hair calibre or hair diameter is arguably more important than the density of follicular units per cm². You may have an above average density but fine hair. As the appearance of baldness is due to light penetrating through the hair the hair thickness plays an important role.

The better your hair characteristics the greater help in creating a natural looking density and maximum coverage when rebuilding a new head of hair, especially in Norwood 5 cases and above. Planning for further hair loss also becomes easier, as the hair calibre allows for wider coverage whilst maintaining a good density. Ideal hair characteristics include a thick hair shaft, curly or wavy hair, a lax scalp and a low contrast between your skin complexion and your hair colour. That is why a hair transplant works and can give a man even in Class 5 and 6 the appearance of coverage and density (donor permitting) without matching hair for hair on the head.

Good and Bad Hair Transplant 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

• Good Quality Donor Area

• Realistic Expectations

• 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

What Will The Doctor be Looking For?

The hair transplant diagnostic will be looking to measure the patients´suitability to achieve a natural result, quantifying aspects such:

Donor hair density
Donor Surface Area Size
Hair Characteristics
Scalp Laxity
The best technique to use, either the FUE or FUT hair transplant technique

With all this information the hairline can then be designed taking into consideration age of the individual, current hair loss stage, potential hair loss stage and the assessment of graft numbers available now and overall in the future.

Learn more about the hair transplant techniques – Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE
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