Hair Transplant: Should You Get One? (What You Need to Know)

Daniel Bishop
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Here’s Why You’re Losing Your Hair

We all lose some of our hair every day. It’s just part of the natural cycle of life. However, if you find your hair is falling out or you’re starting to become concerned that you’re losing more than normal, there’s a good chance it could be a result skin damage or something more serious.

There are several different reasons why this could be happening, including the use of heat tools or chemicals. However, the chances are that the cause is a little more down to earth – poor diet and a lack of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and zinc.

So it’s not just graying hair that elders suffer from but also hair loss. Some people's hair is completely white when they are young, but still maintain a full head of hair. The reasons behind this are simple. When your hair is white – no color pigment exists in it. When your hair is totally white, it loses its color pigment permanently.

Losing hair or thinning hair is very much a sign of aging. It’s a natural process that occurs in every human and animal on the face of the earth from birth through the end of life.

1. It’s all in your genes man

Like everybody else, all it takes is a better or a bad hair days, to make you feel down or up on the day.

And especially in men, a beard or a mustache is what usually gets them the most attention.

But if you’re balding prematurely, or you’re just lacking in the facial hair department, then you already know what it’s like to feel a little down on yourself from time to time.

Luckily, the problem (as with most problems) is more in your head than on your head.

Hair transplant is a great solution to a problem that’s been bothering you for a long time.

Females everywhere have been envying you for your thick hair all your life, so what’s the big deal if you want to even up the score?

In case you hadn’t heard, hair transplant is a widely popular procedure these days.

Another advantage (no pun intended) is that you get to keep your head shaved every time you’re ready for the transplant, so you won’t have to deal with the problem of a bald patch on your head.

Is There Any Kind of Hair Transplant Procedure?

There are mainly two kinds of hair transplant procedures.

You’re a man, not a woman

No matter how much hair you’ve lost, you can’t flip, sashay, or sidestep the male vs. female differences. We are talking here about perms, relaxers, and all the other hair products used to alter the texture of the hair.

You simply cannot get these, and even if you could, you shouldn’t. It’s a huge decision to use these things, and no matter how much hair you’ve lost, it’s just a personal preference, and doesn’t solve the issue (more obvious in males).

A lot of guys who are balding never cease to make the last mistaken argument — that balding is more of an aesthetic issue, while hair loss is a health issue.

And they’re right!

It’s not a sensible idea to mess with your health. And even if you are losing your hair, you will want to try to have a large amount of the hair you still have, so for aesthetic reasons you will want to make the most of it. For that, you will look for an option that will help you manage your hair loss and give you a confident attitude.

Another dreaded acronym (DHT) and its role in hair loss

When there is a severe increase in the production of androgens in the body, a male may develop malicious hair loss. Severe hair loss is defined as a male having greater than 50% of their total hair volume lost.

A common misconception is that hair loss is only caused by genetics and age-related changes. In reality, genetics is only responsible for about 25% of male pattern hair loss. The remaining 75% is caused by androgens, otherwise known as DHT.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen that has a five-fold binding affinity for hair follicles as compared to testosterone. It binds to hair follicles and blocks other hormones that promote hair growth.

As the DHT binds to hair follicles, it inhibits other hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, from binding to hair follicles, resulting in a lack of hair growth. Research also shows that DHT is more of a problem if the hair follicle is thinner and younger, which usually leads to a greater loss of hair.

The 3 hair growth phases and how they affect hair loss

When we lose hair, there are 3 different phases of hair loss that affect our hair loss and the majority of men fall into the 3R category (Reactive, Reparative, and Retreatment), which means that they can still get a fill transplant if they act soon enough.

Let’s take a quick look at the 3 phases and how they affect hair loss.

Reactive Phase (Short Term)

Your loss falls into the reactive phase if you’re losing about 100 hairs a day or greater for a period of 4 weeks. Hairs are being lost at a rate greater than they are growing back, which will result in a net loss of 150 hairs a month. A net loss of 150 hairs a month is the minimum that our clinic suggests to proceed with a hair transplant.

If you lose more than this amount, it’s recommended that you see a hair specialist to take care of your hair loss.

Reactive phase hair loss is a result of the hair follicles being stimulated more than they can handle.

The main reasons for using a hair transplant are two-fold:

  • To stop the hair loss
  • To produce your hair in the same quality that you had before

Getting older means losing your hair

But since you are reading this, it means that you probably have a deep emotional connection to your hair and don’t want to lose it.

If you are one of those people, you might be considering a hair transplant.

What Are The Different Types of Hair Transplants?

A hair transplant in its most basic form is a surgical procedure in which hair follicles are moved from an area with lots of hair (called the donor site) to an area with less hair (called the recipient site). The various types of hair transplants that are available are:

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

Follicular Unit Transplantation (also called strip harvesting), is the most common hair transplant procedure in the U.S. and is the source of 95% of all hair transplants. This procedure is sometimes referred to as “scarring harvesting” because of the straight line scar left (approximately 1/8” wide) in the donor area after the operation has been performed.

In this procedure, hair follicles are removed from an area of hair (usually the back of the head) that usually has a dense growth of hair. Each follicle that is removed is called an “follicular unit.” One to four follicular units each containing 1 to 2 hairs are transplanted.

FUE surgery – What it is, its advantages and disadvantages

Follicular unit extraction is one of the two most popular methods of hair restoration surgery. It involves taking hair follicles from the head and transplanting them to the bald area of the scalp.

Follicular units are smaller sections of hair follicles. These follicles contain one or two growing hairs that get nourishment from a common blood supply.

Despite this common blood supply, they are able to grow on a hair loss area and complete their natural hair growth cycle without being disturbed.

That’s because they are attached to each other via tiny, thick connective tissue strands at the base of the follicle. Hair follicles you can transplant with this technique are harvested from the back of the scalp. This is actually a protective mechanism to prevent the head from excessive sunlight exposure.

In the last few decades, advancements in the surgical technique have made many new discoveries and developments in this ancient, but highly rewarding hair restoration procedure.

FUT surgery – what it is, its advantages and disadvantages

FUT stands for “Follicular Unit Transplantation”. It is the most common type of hair transplant procedure and is sometimes referred to as the strip method.

Why is it so common?

Because it is relatively safe and effective. Follicular Unit Transplantation involves removal of hair from the back and sides of the scalp and transplanting them into the bald or balding areas. That’s why it is so effective. Follicular Unit Transplants are permanent as long as the hair is transplanted correctly.

How it works?

Follicular Unit Transplantation is performed in two stages. First the donor area is prepared. Strip is taken from the hair- bearing part of the scalp through a small cut, where the transplanted hair follicles will be planted later on.

The second step is called “transplantation”. Follicular units are transplanted into the bald or balding areas. It takes about 2 or 3 days to regrow completely and may be treated with some medicines. A number of transplanted follicles can be determined by the surgeon who decides on the transplantation.

Post-Op Follow-up

I recommend that my patients keep their heads covered during the first three days after surgery. Recovery time is rather short and the scar will eventually fade away.

Other hair transplant techniques: The role of robots

Robots are able to transfer high volumes of hairs in a very short time. These are called robotic follicular unit extraction (FFUE) or free-hand surgery and prepare the scalp on a fresh area of the scalp by using tiny incisions in which hairs are then extracted from a strip of skin the size and thickness of a pencil. The precision of robotic follicular unit extraction is incredibly high and allows the surgeon to avoid damaging any surrounding tissues such as the eyes and vocal cords.

The other category of robot-assisted hair transplants is whereby the robotic device extracts tubes containing donor hairs (typically FUE cases) one at a time. The operation time is shorter in this style of hair transplant and the surgeon is able to work much faster.

Other hair transplant techniques: The role of the surgeon

Stem cell hair transplants – the wave of the future?

Stem cell research is a hotbed of activity, and transplants using your stem cells are currently in clinical trials. If all goes well, stem cell transplants may be the wave of the future. But that future is still a long way off, and there are risks involved.

Stem cell transplants are being attempted for many hair loss conditions (as well as for kidney dysfunction, heart failure, and chronic spinal cord injury, among other things), and it all boils down to the theory that you can heal yourself using your own stem cells.

Platelet-rich treatments

Hair transplantation has been around for over 50 years, but there is still no definitive cure for male pattern baldness. Platelet-rich plasma uses the body's natural healing process to encourage hair growth.

Stem cells are injected into the scalp to regenerate cells and seal the follicle. This process can be done alone or alongside hair transplant surgery. Platelet-rich plasma hair treatment injections can increase the number of hairs growing up on the scalp by as much as 500 percent.

The most common side effects are post-injection cysts, which are rare and are characterised by a lump at the site of injection. To reduce the risk of cysts, start with lower doses and gradually increase the number of injections you receive.

Although there are some concerns about transmission of blood-borne diseases, all blood used in the treatment is tested.

A review study found that efficacy rates for hair injection therapy vary from 30-60 percent.

Hair transplant surgeons come from a wide range of specialised fields. While there are a number of areas they could specialise in, hair restoration is the most prevalent. Hair transplantation surgeons can have anything from a few weeks to a decade plus of experience.

Deciding Whether to Get a Hair Transplant – The Pros and Cons

If you decide to do a hair transplant, be sure to do your research first. Be sure that you are comfortable with any potential side effects or risks associated with the procedure.

Consider the possible options for hair replacement for you. As with most things, there are many approaches you can take here.

First, you can decide to wear a hairpiece. Wigs and hairpieces look very realistic today, and they offer a very easy solution to hair loss.

The surgery is one of the options for you to consider. The surgery is popular among those with male pattern baldness. The hair replacement surgery is performed by a hair surgeon; and it actually involves the transplantation of hair follicles from the back of the scalp to unwanted areas.

Choose Your Surgeon Wisely

If you do decide to do a hair transplant, you should choose your surgeon wisely. If you know of any friends or family members who have had hair transplants, then you should check with them and ask them about the experience they had.

Here’s What You’ll Pay For a Hair Transplant

The cost of a hair transplant varies, depending on the severity of the procedure needed, as well as whether or not you choose a physician that is part of a network.

If you go to a doctor that is on the network of the hospital, you’ll pay more than you would if you choose a surgeon that is not on the network.

This is because network physicians have negotiated their price with the insurance company.

If you go to someone outside of the network, you may save some money and get a better price.

But if you don’t have any health insurance, you may be paying cash and getting the same results, without the network.

Hair Transplants: Some History & Everything Else You Need to Know

Hair transplants used to use the "follicular unit strip surgery" method, which involved slicing off a large swathe of the scalp, and harvesting "donor hair" from that strip of flesh. These traumatic methods caused lots of scarring, leaving some patients scalps looking like the surface of the moon!

The "FUSS method" – "follicular unit strip surgery" – is now very rarely used nowadays, having been replaced by a much less invasive technique, known as the "FUE method" (follicular unit extraction). FUE involves more than a kilometer of tiny incisions being made in the scalp, directly over the tiny hairs. Tiny hollow needles are then used to graft "donor hair" directly from the tiny incisions into tiny holes on the top and the front of the scalp.

The more modern "FUE method" is less traumatic, causing virtually no scarring, and the tiny holes can be easily hidden or disguised with hair plugs.

The new FUE procedures are not the only thing for a patient to consider. The doctor, the technique, and the clinic all play a big role in how successful, or otherwise, the procedure will be. So make sure you choose your cosmetic surgeon carefully.

Some common questions people have about hair transplants

And hair loss:

  • I’ve got a lot of patches of thinning hair and mostly have just been shaving my head. I’ve given up on even bothering with being clean-shaven. Is there something else I can do?
  • I’ve been wearing caps and baseball hats every day to hide the bald spots on my head. Is there any other way I can hide the bald spots?
  • My hair loss is making me look older than I am. I’m worried about how it will affect my career and my dating life in the future.
  • I’m a man and have a receding hairline. My father has hair loss and I have been worried I might too. I’ve been embarrassed to go out in public ever since because I don’t want people looking at my hairline.
  • I’ve been losing my hair for a few years now. It seems like more and more of it is falling out every day. I’m scared that I’m going to end up with a bald head and no hair at all.

Some Do’s and Don’ts of Hair Transplant Aftercare

Follow your doctor’s or nurse’s instructions for aftercare exactly. These instructions may be given to you verbally or in writing.

It is advisable to keep the area around the transplanted hair clean and dry.

Unlike natural hair, transplants are delicate and need to be protected. Do not handle them roughly.

Don’t mess with the hairs, pulling, combing, or styling them in any way.

It’s often advised to avoid exposing the grafted area to the sun for a year or so, as this will help to grow the transplanted hair.

Don’t pick the transplanted hair.

Thermal styling is not advised for the first few months.

Make sure to not expose the location of the transplant to any harsh hair care products.

It’s best to avoid visiting salons and spas during the early phases of hair transplant healing time.

Don’t give them a haircut or trim the way you want, as this will only weaken them.

Let the hairs grow naturally as you would the natural hairs.

Following these simple aftercare tips will ensure a successful hair transplant experience that results in beautiful and healthy hair.

You’re Not Alone – Celebrities Who’ve Had Hair Transplants

Plastic surgery is not uncommon these days (nor should it be considered any more “normal” than a new hairdo), and whether you’ve had it done yourself or not, you’re likely to know someone who has. What may start as a middle-age face-lift gradually morphes into a complete “body lift” makeover, with tucks, lifts, and nips and tucks, and possibly one of the most popular procedures of all, the “hair transplant.”

More than one in five Hollywood men have had a hair transplant, from actors like Bruce Willis, Ashton Kutcher, and Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men, to singers like Simon LeBon and Sting.

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure to transplant hair follicles from one part of the head to areas that are balding. Just as you may have seen in photos, the person receiving the transplant usually has their own hair shaved to give a better view of what’s going on, and the procedure usually leaves a very small scar at the final point of attachment on the scalp.

Wayne Rooney

If you are a guy looking for hair-replacement surgery options, then you may have seen Wayne Rooney on the TV’s adverts for hair transplants.

Wayne Rooney opted for a hair transplant to disguise his type 1 receding hair line and baldness around the sides and back of the head.

First and foremost if you are considering a hair transplant, it is the best possible option for you to consider your hair type. The following are the two most common types of hair loss.

Elon Musk

When it comes to hair loss in the United States, the two names that come to mind are male pattern baldness and female alopecia. While both men and women suffer from these types of hair loss, they can usually be stopped with medicines and hair restoration respectively. Many people suffer from other types of hair loss, such as scarring alopecia, traction alopecia, and Alopecia Areata among others. These conditions cause the hair to fall out, but unlike male pattern baldness, these conditions usually cannot be stopped.

While some people choose to wear a wig or hairpiece, others feel that’s not enough and choose to go with a hair transplant.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, recently admitted that he had a hair transplant and it was not as smooth as he imagined it would be.

If you are considering getting a hair transplant, be sure to book a consultation with a doctor who can tell you your options and help you with any questions you may have.

The first step towards getting a hair transplant is to find the right doctor.

John Travolta

Matthew McConaughey

Had a hair transplant. Your neighbor probably did too. And so did your co-worker, the local news broadcaster, your CPA, and your doctor. Hair transplants have become a popular procedure for men and women.

Unlike some cosmetic procedures, the desire to go bald gracefully is not a new trend. In fact, the procedure of hair transplantation has been around since 1974.

Although you usually hear about it being used to conceal the bald spot atop your head, you can transplant hair anywhere. You can move it from your scalp to your beard or from your chin to your sideburns.

Like any procedure, hair transplants come with risks, costs, and benefits. But, if you're a man who is losing your hair, finding a doctor who can help you choose the best options can make a big difference.

Elton John

In the late 1990s, Elton John accused David Furnish, as well as the rest of the world, of thinking he got a hair transplant when, in fact, he had simply colored his hair. Elton is now a prolific user of hair powder, including double-barreled products to fill in the bits of hair over the crown.

In the 2000s, he had a second bout of hair loss, and the rumors started again. This time Elton took an unusual tack. He decided to preempt the rumors by tweeting the following: "No way am I getting a hair transplant. The bald look is THE in thing now. I am going for the Jason Statham look in The Bank Job."

This strategy seems to have worked for him now that he is in his 60s. But would he have been better off getting a hair transplant? As it turns out, hair transplants have evolved to the point where the answer may well be yes.

First off, you should consider how bad an idea it is to use hair powder. It is better than nothing for covering up the top of the head, but it is not a great solution and it shouldn’t be considered a permanent fix. It is very likely that you will fall back into the same problem at a later date.

David Beckham

Sports a Grown-Out, Natural-Looking Hair Transplant.

Male hair loss is a topic that is rarely talked about at a dinner table. However, even if men do not talk about it, it is still something that bothers them. There are many people who find it embarrassing and refuse to admit that they are having hair loss problems. But the problem still persists.

Some people may consider getting a hair transplant. However, there are some who are still unaware of what it is. A hair transplant is surgery in which a doctor moves hairs from one area to another to restore the normal appearance of hair. This is the best option for those who want to restore their hair but do not want to use hair pieces or wigs. This type of surgery is applied for patients with baldness because of certain conditions.

If you are planning to have a hair transplant, here is what you need to know:

What to look for in clinics and doctors

Of course, do not rush in getting a hair transplant. Do thorough research because different clinics have different techniques.

But what really matters before having the surgery is knowing the doctors. In order to secure a great doctor, make sure that you have checked the qualifications of the practitioner. A professional and good health care provider must have a license as a physician plus advanced surgical training in ophtalmology.

Determine if the clinic is accredited by the The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Sean Penn

Sean Penn is a hair transplant (or HT as it's also called) success story. After decades of wearing baseball hats, Penn showed off his "new hair" at the 2016 Golden Globes.

In an interview with The New York Times, Penn revealed that he got his "new hair" due to a "simple case of genetics" and "male pattern baldness." Penn also stated, "I went to an excellent, excellent doctor. It’s not male-pattern baldness, you wouldn’t have noticed. Underneath all this hair," he added, "I has a very receded hairline. I have a widow’s peak. I mean, I know it sounds crazy, but it's the truth. So I went and had an operation. Now, I have a hairline."

Until recently, I had no idea that hair transplants were coming back into style. (I must be getting old.) But apparently, every year an estimated 60,000 people get their heads beautified with transplants.

Like I said, I was shocked to discover hair transplants are even being considered a popular option for men. But I guess I shouldn't have been as it’s a smart move for men who are tired of wearing hats, wigs, or loss of hair.

Bono

Bono, lead singer of the famous band U2, is well-known for his thinning hair. As a result from medical treatment for skin cancer on his scalp, Bono lost a piece of his scalp, which, together with the hair follicles in that area, stripping him of his thick black hair. In 2005, the year before the band's Japan reunion tour, the singer received a full scalp and hair transplant.

He began to lose his hair during the 1980s, thanks to an old pair of swimming goggles, which he used frequently while swimming. They were old, dirty, and shabby and irritated his scalp. In those days, there were no cell phones, so in order to order replacements, he had to order a replacement pair in person, and on a moment's notice. He did this often, and his hair began to thin out. So, one day, he decided to swap his goggles for a baseball cap. While onstage on the U2's PopMart tour, in 1996, this decision was the subject of some teasing, due to Bono's preference for outdated, bulky headgear.

How a Hair Transplant is Different – and Similar – From a Beard Transplant

For the millions of guys unhappy with their patchy beards, hair transplants may sound like a dream come true. The reality, however, is more complicated.

The best way to think about the difference between hair transplants and beard transplants is this: "Beard transplants are essentially practical, hair transplants are purely cosmetic," says Dr. Robert Dorin, a hair restoration specialist in New York City.

A hair transplant is a way to solve an underlying medical issue, whereas beard transplantation allows guys to fix cosmetic issues. Here's how both treatments break down.

What Are Hair Transplants and Beard Transplants?

Hair transplants are a surgical procedure that moves hair from one part of the body to bald or thinning areas. After the hair is transplanted, it must grow for a year before it’s noticeable.

While beard transplants are a form of hair transplants, Dr. Dorin made an important distinction: "Not all hair transplants are beard transplants. It's the same in reverse. Not all beard transplants are hair transplants."

That’s another way to think about the medical necessity versus cosmetic intent behind the treatments.

What Are Some Alternatives to Hair Transplant Procedures?

If you’re self-conscious about your thinning hairline or believe that your hair loss is occurring at a rate that’s too fast, hair transplants could be something to seriously consider. But before you go ahead with a transplant, there are a few factors you should consider. First, it’s important to understand that the process of hair transplants is invasive and expensive. Additionally, there are a few alternatives to consider when it comes to hair loss treatment.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the most commonly used alternative in the treatment of hair loss, thinning hair, and hair loss. It is also known as Rogaine®, and it is a drug that treats hair loss by improving blood circulation to hair follicles.

This increased circulation creates the nutrients that are necessary for hair to grow. All you have to do to apply minoxidil is rub it on your scalp each day.

The Pros

Minoxidil is easy to use, and it’s one of the most affordable hair loss remedies available.

The Cons

The problem with minoxidil is that it needs a consistent application in order to be effective. If you stop using it for any length of time, the benefits will stop almost immediately.

Finasteride, aka, Propecia

It is the standard hair loss medication which has been available over the counter for many years. It must be taken once a day with a full stomach.

Some people experience side effects such as an odd taste in the mouth, decreased sex drive, or difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.

Because it is a prescription medication, it is often more expensive than over the counter products.

It only works on male pattern baldness.

What I recommend:

You should give it a go for at least a year before stopping.

If you have finished a course of pills and were satisfied, and experienced no side effects, you can keep taking them indefinitely.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved topical liquid that’s proven to be an effective treatment for hair loss. It’s also the last thing that worked for me when I was researching hair re-growth alternatives.

Minoxidil is known as a vasodilator, which is a fancy way of saying it enlarges the blood vessels and increases blood flow. This increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to the follicle, so it’s much more likely to grow long, strong, and healthy.

While it’s predominantly used to prevent hair loss and for re-growth purposes, it’s also generally been used to reduce high blood pressure, treat glaucoma, and other vasoconstrictive health issues.

Ketoconazole

Some doctors prescribe ketoconazole shampoo for their patients. What are the possible side effects and warnings?

The shampoo contains 1% ketoconazole, an anti-dandruff ingredient that also acts as an antifungal.

In addition to alleviating your symptoms, the shampoo helps to ease irritation and inflammation of the scalp due to seborrheic dermatitis.

The shampoo is used once per week to prevent flare-ups and to help relieve symptoms of dandruff.

Ketoconazole shampoo is a good standard treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, but its use is typically not recommended for longer than two or three months. Longer use could cause side effects such as thinning of the skin.

In addition to preventing flaring up of symptoms, ketoconazole shampoo is used to stop the spread of fungal infections to other parts of your body such as your eyebrows or face.

Do not use other shampoos on your face or around your eyes until you have consulted your doctor. Use this shampoo only on your scalp.

Dr. Bronner's Safe Baby Mild Soap Contains No Detergents and No Artificial Fragrances. Don’t soap sensitive skin, but just use warm water if you don’t have Dr. Bronner's.

Some other hair loss treatments for men

Here are some other options available for hair loss treatments:

Amino acids – These can be found in foods like eggs, meat, fish, and some fruits. Men can benefit from L-Lysine, L-Cysteine, L-Cystine, and L-Methionine. They can also be found in supplements. It’s worth noting, though, that L-Cysteine and L-Methionine for OTC supplements can have a sulfur odor.

Alpha-Minoxidil – The drug that brought about Rogaine as a product, topical use of the drug is available. However, women found that it caused facial hair growth, so today it is only found in a 2% strength concentration for men. Used only on the scalp, it helps stimulate hair growth in a majority of men. However, prolonged use can lead to irritation, which is why it’s regulated — in fact, it’s only available by prescription from your doctor.

DHT blockers – The hormone behind the Rogaine’s work is DHT, or Dihydtestosterone. DHT blockers not only interfere with testosterone production but they also displace the testosterone already in the system as the hormone can attach on the androgen receptors and block them.

Conclusion

Choosing the right hairs for you is all a matter of finding hairs that have the right hair color, hair length, hair texture, and hair volume. With the variety of options on the market right now, you are sure to find something that suits your taste. For those that are still not sure about going through with the process of hair transplant, it is a decision that can be reversed. It’s a big decision.

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