Female Hair Transplant
Hair transplant is one of the most common cosmetic procedures undergone by male patients. However, it is also performed frequently on female patients as well.
Who is a Good Candidate for Female Hair Transplant?
Many women with typical diffuse female patterned hair loss are not good candidates for a hair transplant due to not having an adequate donor supply on the back and sides of their scalp or elsewhere on their body. However, there are times when a hair transplant can make a significant improvement in the appearance of female patients:
- Female version of Male Patterned Hair Loss – A common cause of female hair loss in which they lose hair on the front, top and crown with preserved hair on the back and sides.
- Congenital elevated hairline – This makes the face of a woman less feminine so hair transplant is a great option for these patients.
- Transgender feminine hairline creation – Hair transplant is considered the most important procedure for many Male to Female (MTF) transgender people in order to frame the face of a person with female characteristics.
- Scarring alopecia – When scarring alopecia is due to trauma, surgery hair transplant can fill the scar and eliminate its visibility.
- Hair Loss after facelift procedures – It is not uncommon for women to lose hair in their temporal points due to facelift procedures. In addition, the scar of the facelifts can make the loss of hair more visible.
- Traction alopecia – This is hair loss due to traction or a pulling of the hair secondary to styling and instrumentation like braiding, tight ponytails and dreads. Hair transplant can restore the lost hair in the area as long as the patient can stop the cause of this condition.
- Trichotillomania – A condition where the patient has an urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. Symptoms include compulsive hair pulling and hair loss such as bald patches on the scalp. These conditions should be treated with psychological treatments but any hair loss that persists can be treated with a hair transplant.
Hair Restoration Options for Women
Before considering a hair transplant, female patients should be examined by a hair transplant physician in order to rule out treatable medical conditions contributing to the hair loss. The doctor will also conduct a microscopic hair evaluation to determine the location and percentage of hair miniaturization. Female patients with a high percentage of diffuse/generalized miniaturization are not good candidates for a hair transplant.
Female hair transplant options are the same as their male counterparts. The surgeon will decide if Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is the best option to achieve the desired results. Also, the doctor may decide to utilize medical treatments during, or prior to, the surgical hair restoration.
When to Consider Female Hair Transplantation?
Woman can utilize hair transplant for two purposes:
- To lower a hairline that is high
- To treat patterned baldness
Lowering hairline with hair transplant is a procedure in which healthy hair is removed from the donor area through a FUE or FUT method and implanted to create a more feminine hairline.
Women may have either female patterned or male patterned baldness. The pattern of baldness in women should be carefully determined in order to find out whether they are good candidates for a hair transplant procedure.
At times, female hair loss differs from male balding. Women sometimes do not have stable donor hair on the sides and back of the head. In fact, women are equally prone to hair loss throughout the scalp. This fact makes women less likely candidates for a hair transplant procedure as the non-permanent transplanted hair will fall out at some point.
Taking all of this into account, not every woman living with hair loss will benefit from a hair restoration procedure. Before proceeding with a hair transplant, the doctor needs to take into account the extent of the areas with active balding and estimate the number of permanent hair that the patient currently has on the scalp that could be used in the hair restoration process.
Differences Between Male and Female Hair Transplant
- Women often do not mind donor scars – Many male patients may need to keep the hair short on the donor areas so procedures like strip FUT might not be the best option. Women rarely consider short haircuts so they can consider a strip hair transplant to maximize the number of grafts while lowering the cost of hair transplant
- Women have higher scalp donor availability – Women who don’t have male patterned hair loss have a larger donor area since the hair on the top and crown would not be prone to hair loss. This is unlike men with advanced stages of hair loss who are only limited to the hair on the limited areas on the back and sides.
- Women cannot use body hair – Many men can take advantage of using hair from other parts of the body such as the beard and body hair that is not available in most women.
Do I Have Realistic Expectations?
Women have different expectations than men when it comes to hair restoration. While some men are happy with just eliminating their blading look, most women expect nothing but perfection. In fact, it is very important for the surgeon to set realistic expectations for female patients.
Although it is possible to make a solid hairline with only one hair transplant, the new hairline might not be as dense as it was when the women were children. Some women may need more than one hair transplant to increase the density of hair and to meet their expectations.
Women who have thinning on a large area of the front, top and crown area should pick the most important areas that need to be restored. Increasing the density of hair evenly is often not the best option to create the optimal results. Some women with extended hair loss should focus on restoring their hairline or the areas where they usually part their hair. The appearance of fullness can be achieved with changing their hair color as well as the use of cosmetics. The surgeon should discuss all cosmetic and styling options that can help patients achieve the best cosmetic result.
Other Hair Restoration Options for Women:
- Rogaine – Also known as Minoxidil, this is the number one over the counter medication to slow down hair loss. Minoxidil is recommended for females with hair loss at a suggested concentration of 2% as opposed to the 5% that is recommended for male patients. Rogaine can also be used in women after hair transplant to reduce the risk of shock loss after hair restoration.
- Laser Hair Restoration – Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) for hair loss is an option for patients who have not seen progress in fighting hair loss using other treatments. Laser hair loss treatment is an option for patients who are not good candidates for a hair transplant. LLLT can also be considered an additional therapy after a hair transplant. LLLT is a noninvasive procedure that stimulates the growth of hair by exposing the hair follicles to low level light during the early stages of hair loss. In general, patients with active hair loss greater than 20% miniaturization of their hair are good candidates for laser hair restoration.
- SMP – Scalp Mirco-Pigmentation (SMP) is a surgical treatment that places pigment into the dermal layer of the scalp skin in order to replicate the appearance of hair follicles. SMP darkens the thinning areas of the scalp and helps create the appearance of hair by minimizing the contrast between the hair color and skin tone.
- Cosmetics – Cosmetics such as Toppik and DerMatch can temporarily reduce the color contrasts between the hair and scalp as well as minimize the appearance of balding. Coloring the hair of patients closer to their skin tone can achieve the same goal through the same mechanism.