Realistic Expectations After Hair Transplant
Although the vast majority of men and women who undergo modern day surgical hair restoration are completely satisfied with the results, with theaesthetic and emotional benefits far exceeding their initial desires, it’s important to understand that there are limits to what hair transplantation can do. And for each patient, there are unique variables that play a major role in the outcome.
> Hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is a progressive, ongoing genetic disorder that first manifests itself as thinning hair and ultimately results in hair loss, in those pre-determined hair follicles effected.
> You should never expect to retain the same hair density or the same hair line placement you had as a teenager, nor should you want to. Hairlines and overall hair density evolve as we age.
> You may have already lost up to 70% of your hair density before you’ve even realized your hair was thinning.
> Hair transplantation simply relocates natural hairs, it does not produce new hair.
> Hair transplantation does not stop affected native hair from thinning and future loss. The transplanted hairs are permanent, as they are genetically different from the thinning hairs, but hairs that are pre-disposed to thinning and loss will continue on that course.
> If warranted, in addition to hair transplant surgery to replace lost hairs, your physician may recommend finasteride or minoxidil in an effort to stabilize existing thinning hairs.
> Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and hair loss is progressive, somewhere down the road, you may elect a second hair transplant procedure to help you achieve your hair restoration goals.
Here are some factors that directly impact surgical results and should be considered when setting realistic expectations:
1) The ratio of supply (donor hair) and demand (area of hair thinning and loss). In essence, the more significant the hair loss and/or the larger area of scalp affected by hair loss, the more donor hair required. Hair density following one surgical procedure will be based on limits to donor hair extraction.
2) The caliber (diameter) of each hair shaft. Thicker hair will provide greater coverage and volume than fine hair.
3) The body of hair. Curly or wavy hair tends to create greater coverage than straight hair, resulting in greater hair density.
4) The contrast between the scalp and the hair. Hair density, or at least the perception of greater hair density, increases as the contrast (or visibility) of the scalp through the hair diminishes. For patients with dark hair and a light scalp, this contrast is greater, giving the appearance of thinner hair, or less hair density.
5) The density of the donor area. The donor area is the source of the hairs utilized in surgical hair transplantation. The greater the natural donor hair density (hairs per square millimeter), the more available donor hairs for possible future procedures.
6) Scalp elasticity. Mega-session and giga-session hair transplant procedures are becoming more common. For a surgeon to safely perform a procedure of this size (4,000 to 5,000 grafts or more), there has to be a need for it, the donor area has to have sufficient density, AND the scalp has to have enough elasticity to accommodate the donor removal, allowing the surgeon to close the area safely, leaving nothing more than an undetectable scar.
7) Future thinning and loss. Unless a patient is a Class 7, having lost most of the hairs in the affected area, it’s important to anticipate future, continued loss and recession. A secondary procedure and/or the use of finasteride or minoxidil may be recommended to achieve the hair restoration objective.
It’s important to review all available information, to make an informed decision. And when considering hair transplant surgery, or any surgery for that matter, it’s good to remember that the most critical decision is the surgeon himself… his training, his artistry, his skill, his compassion, his surgical techniques, his results.
If you are looking for answers to hair loss and are considering hair transplant surgery, we encourage you to visit a good hair transplant surgeon. In the right hands, you too can experience the life-changing benefit of hair transplantation, exceeding all of your expectations.