When is some one old enough to have a hair transplant?
In some cases hair loss presents itself very early in life. Teenagers may notice temple recession and thinning. For the young hair loss patient and his/her family this can be very distressing. It is important that professional evaluation and advice is provided so that wrong decisions aren’t made.
Physicians do not typically recommend performing hair transplant surgery on anyone younger than 20 years old. First, other options and contributing factors need to be considered.
The first step is to understand what is causing the hair loss. There are many factors that could be contributing to it, including health conditions, diet and genetics.
If the hair loss is determined to be caused by pattern baldness, it is extremely difficult to determine the extent and pattern of hair loss at such a young age due to the progression of the condition. Typically the earlier the onset of hair loss the more extensive the hair loss over time.
That is why medical and cosmetic treatments should first be considered to maintain existing hair as long as possible and to camouflage the hair loss to maintain one’s appearance and self image.
Many male patients can try the FDA Approved prescription drug Finasteride – marketed as Propecia , which can slow hair loss, and combine it with the topical minoxidil, which is applied directly to the scalp to slow hair loss. This combination should be the first attempt at slowing the progression of hair loss. For female patients Rogaine is the only FDA approved drug for hair loss.
After 12 months, physicians can then examine the scalp again, mainly in the back of the head to see if there has been any progression, or if the drugs have helped slow the hair loss. If the physician determines that surgery can be performed based upon the severity of hair loss, the surgeon can operate, but not in the vertex area (the top of head).
The risk of transplanting hair on a young patient is that future hair loss still is a factor. Only an experienced hair surgeon who understands the progression of hair loss should perform the surgery to assure that the hair that is transplanted will be removed from a safe area where the hair will continue to grow as the patient ages. Hair line design and placement should be conservative so that as the patient ages the cosmetic appearance remains natural.
Other hair loss preservation methods are Laser Hair Loss Therapy and ACell + PRP Hair Regrowth Therapy. Laser Hair Loss Therapy has been FDA cleared for treating hair loss and has shown clinical evidence for growing and maintaining hair. ACell + PRP Hair Regrowth Therapy is a fairly recent modality and although there has been encouraging reports from many practitioners worldwide there is no clinical trials results yet available.
For more information contact Dr. Fallon for a comprehensive hair loss consultation.