Is a Hair Transplant Right for You?

Is a Hair Transplant Right for You

Hair transplants aren’t for everyone. Read on to see if you’re a good candidate.

Treatments for hair loss have come a long way. Today, there are several types of surgery that can produce natural-looking results. These are usually done on an outpatient basis with minimal complications.

But are you a good candidate for hair transplant? The answer depends on a variety of factors. Here are the most important of them.

Rate of hair loss

In order for a hair transplant to work, you need to have at least some hair left on your head. This is because the surgeon takes clusters of hair follicles and replants them in areas that have gone bald.

The best results occur when there are well-defined areas of hair loss and dense hair growth on the sides and back of the scalp. It’s also helpful to have a combination of fine and coarse hairs. Light-colored hair often looks more natural than darker hair.

But if you’ve been losing hair at a rapid rate, you may not be a good candidate. You may not have enough remaining hair for the surgeon to work with.

The cause of hair loss

Aging isn’t the only reason people lose hair. Some people have hair loss for other reasons, many of them quite serious. Some examples include:

  • Stress
  • Thyroid disease
  • Lupus
  • Certain medications
  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Poor nutrition
  • Some birth control pills
  • Chemical hair treatments (such as bleaching)

If these or another condition is responsible for your hair loss, hair transplant may not work or may not be the best option. Depending on the cause of hair loss, the hairs that have been transplanted could continue to fall out.

This is why most surgeons review your health history before performing a transplant. If there’s an underlying health issue, it’s more important to treat that than to have a procedure that’s merely cosmetic. Hair transplant is most suitable when hair loss results from:

  • Male or female pattern baldness
  • Scarring
  • Burns
  • Injury

Other health concerns

Even if a health condition isn’t responsible for your hair loss, there might be other reasons why a transplant’s a bad idea. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure, for example, can complicate the healing process. Hair replacement is still a form of surgery and it comes with some level of risk. Other conditions that may affect having a transplant include:

  • A blood clotting disease (such as hemophilia)
  • Skin that scars easily
  • Taking blood thinners (such as aspirin)

Your expectations

Those who have unrealistic expectations are often discouraged from undergoing transplants. In many cases, the improvements are modest. Sometimes the procedure doesn’t take, and hair begins to thin back out again. Is this an outcome you can live with? If not, you might want to rethink your decision.

In any case, a hair transplant isn’t the only option available to you. There are other remedies, too. For instance, you might be able to try:

A topical ointment called minoxidil

  • An oral medication (for men) called finasteride
  • Lifelike hairpieces

If a transplant won’t work for you, one of these other options might. Results vary, but lots of people have been pleased with them. Depending on the circumstances, you might be, too. But that’s something you’ll need to discuss with your doctor.

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