Male Hair Transplant
Written by Dr. Griffin
Male pattern hair loss
The majority of hair loss in men can be attributed to male pattern hair loss, which is referred to as androgenetic alopecia within the medical community. This genetic type of hair loss presents in a typical pattern on the scalp, with the hairline receding back from the forehead and balding subsequently occurring on the top of the head. Men experience balding differently, with some only experiencing a receding hairline, while hair loss in others will progress until only a small wreath of hair is left in a semi-circle across the back and sides of the scalp.
Male pattern hair loss affects between 50 and 80% of men at some point in their lives. The rate of loss and age of onset varies greatly between different populations of people. About 50% of Caucasian men, for example, will be affected by male pattern baldness to some extent by the age of 50. Japanese and Chinese men, on the other hand, are much less likely to be affected by androgenetic alopecia.
Male pattern balding is caused by genetics, which explains why certain populations are more prone to pattern hair loss than others. Researchers have determined that the tendency to inherit the condition can come from either side of the family. If your father or mother’s family experienced pattern baldness, then you are likely to experience some degree of it too. The exact cause of pattern baldness is only starting to be understood, but researchers have determined that it is caused by an inherited sensitivity of some follicles to the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in certain areas of the scalp. Several genes are involved, which explains the variation in pattern, severity and onset of hair loss among family members.
Real Patient Before & After Photos
Hair loss solutions for men
While hair loss is not a condition that requires medical treatment, many men are justifiably concerned about balding. While it’s normal for older men to have thinner hair and areas of baldness, younger men may feel that hair loss ages them prematurely or detracts from their overall appearance. Hair loss can be detrimental to one’s self image and self esteem, so it’s understandable that many people wish to slow or reverse the effects of male pattern baldness.
The most important concept to understand about Male Pattern Alopecia (MPA) is that it is progressive over time. Maintenance is a life long project of fighting ones genetic predisposition to the effects of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). The most targeted and cost effective maintenance therapy is oral Finasteride (Propecia) because it blocks DHT production. Topical Minoxidil (Rogaine), Laser Cap, and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) are alternatives which Dr. Griffin can discuss with patients.
Male hair restoration
The most effective solution for male pattern baldness is a combination of medical treatment for the maintenance of one’s current hair and hair transplant surgery to replace lost follicles. There are several hair transplant techniques available, but they all involve moving hair from one area of the head (the donor area which is DHT resistant) to an area of baldness. Men who suffer from male pattern baldness typically have hair on the sides or back of the head that never falls out. This donor hair is used to repopulate balding areas of the head.
When performed correctly, transplanted hair should remain in place indefinitely, making hair transplantation a permanent solution to male pattern baldness. A skilled surgeon who specializes in hair transplant surgery will be able to implant the hair so that it blends naturally with the surrounding area and fits with the patient’s natural hairline and hair density.
Real Patient Before & After Photos
Male hair transplant techniques
Hair transplants have been performed for several decades, but the techniques involved in transplant surgery have evolved in recent years to make it a more natural and effective treatment for male pattern baldness. Dr. Griffin will decide which procedure is best for a patient. Most often FUE is performed because of its ability to cause less scarring and harvest more grafts. We strive to achieve excellent coverage, density, and a cosmetically natural result. In some cases a second procedure is required to fill in any tiny gap between the grafts. This can be done usually 1 year later if desired by the patient. The grafts begin to grow 3-4 months after surgery and the final result occurs 9-12 months after the procedure.
The techniques most commonly used in hair transplants include strip harvesting and follicular unit excision (FUE), both of which result in follicular units for transplantation:
Follicular unit excision
In follicular unit excision (FUE), the surgeon uses a small punch instrument to create a tiny, circular incision in the skin around individual hair follicular units. Each unit is extracted from the scalp, leaving many tiny holes that will heal over the next week. The follicular units are then transplanted into the balding areas of the scalp. One advantage to this method is that it creates less damage to the donor site, leaving the area looking natural in appearance.
The traditional form of harvesting hair for transplantation, strip harvesting involves the removal of elongated strips of skin and hair from the donor site, which is located in the back or on the sides of the scalp. The donor site is then sutured closed to allow for healing. The strip is dissected and individual follicular units are transplanted into the balding areas. Strip harvesting results in a horizontal scar in the donor site, which is easily hidden by surrounding hair. It should be understood that one needs to wear one’s hair at least ½ inch long to hide the scar. Strip harvesting is a good procedure for patients who are not good candidates for FUE. Patients with weak follicles or soft, thin skin such as many women and older men do better with strip harvesting than with FUE. In addition, the donor area hair can be left long for the procedure which some patients may desire for work appearances.
Recovery period following male hair transplant
The recovery period following a hair transplant will vary based on the technique used to harvest the hair follicles. Dr. Griffin recommends his patients avoid exercise and strenuous activities for one week to prevent bleeding and accidental injury to the donor and transplant sites. Patients may find the scalp area tender or sensitive for a few days following their hair transplant, which is normal and should dissipate within the week. In some cases, temporary swelling of the forehead and around the eyes may occur several days after surgery.
Patients should generally plan 1 week for recovery from hair transplant surgery. Scabbing of the newly implanted follicles will occur and it is important that patients follow the post-op instructions given. Patients can conceal this with a hat or scarf. To reduce the incidence of discoloration during healing, it is important to keep the area protected from the sun in the weeks and months following the procedure. Once the area has healed, sunscreen may be applied or a cap can be worn outdoors to protect the scalp.
After the surgery, the transplanted hair will often shed within two to three weeks and new hair growth from the new follicles will begin within a few months. Most patients who undergo hair transplantation will experience around 60% of new hair growth within six to nine months of their surgery, with the full effect of the procedure seen with 9 to 12 months later. The results of a hair transplant are permanent, but several sessions may be required to attain the desired results.
When performed by an experienced surgeon, the results should appear very natural. It takes a surgeon with a very artistic eye to perform hair transplant well, as each hair follicle must be individually placed in the scalp in a precise way to replicate the patient’s natural hair line.