Can You Have A Hair Transplant With Diffuse Hair Loss?

4/22/2019 4:32:12 PM

Contrary to popular belief not everyone loses their hair through recession. In fact, some individuals maintain their juvenile hairline, but dramatically thin across their entire scalp. This type of hair loss is called Diffuse Patterned Alopecia (DPA). This form of hair loss follows the typical horseshoe pattern for men and Christmas tree pattern for women.

The million-dollar question in everyone's mind is whether individuals who suffer from DPA can have successful hair transplants or will they end up looking worse from shock loss.

In this article, we will be discussing whether individuals who suffer from DPA are suitable candidates for hair transplant surgery.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA)

In the beginning, diagnosing DPA can be difficult to diagnose because many misdiagnose those suffering from DPA with diffuse unpatterned alopecia (DUPA). The difference between DPA and DUPA is that individuals who suffer from DUPA do not have a stable and permanent donor supply. Those who suffer from DPA follow the distinct pattern of male and female pattern hair loss and maintain the hair on the sides and back of their scalp.

Dermatologists and hair transplant surgeons are able to diagnose DPA by looking at the top, back and sides of the scalp using high-magnification instruments that can detect miniaturized/thinning hair follicles.

If the top of the scalp contains miniaturization and the sides and back of the scalp do not, then the surgeon is able to ascertain that the patient is suffering from DPA.

Those who suffer from DPA respond well to medical hair loss treatments like Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil). Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) are both approved by the FDA to treat genetic hair loss. Some anecdotal reports suggest that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) works well on miniaturized hair and primarily on those suffering from DPA.

So is There a Risk of Shock Loss?

Unfortunately, yes there is a risk of shock loss. Shock loss is a form of short-term hair loss that typically occurs after stress, trauma or a surgical procedure. This temporary hair loss is primarily contained to the top of the scalp. Everyone has around 5-10% of their hair in the telogen (resting phase) at any given time.

However, with shock loss, an increased amount of hairs enter the telogen (resting phase) all at once causing a massive shed. This creates the temporary appearance of baldness. For the most part, shock loss is a temporary condition, but in some cases, the hair loss may become permanent if the hair is already on its way out from the effects of DHT.

This is the conundrum that many diffused hair loss sufferers face prior to undergoing hair transplant surgery.

Diffused Hair Loss and Hair Transplant Surgery

diffuse hair loss

Sadly, there are no guarantees with hair transplant surgery, but there are certain precautions that individuals can take to ensure the success of their procedure. The first precaution is to take hair loss medication like finasteride and minoxidil. While both of these medications do not cure hair loss, they certainly slow and even stop the progression of hereditary hair loss and in some cases even regrow hair. So to answer the question, yes individuals suffering from DPA can have successful hair transplant procedures.

The reason why shock loss occurs with hair transplant surgery is because surgeons try and transplant hair in close proximity to the pre-existing native hair. The creation of recipient sites where the follicular unit grafts will be placed and the implantation process itself can damage surrounding hair follicles.

This trauma causes the hair follicles to enter the telogen (resting phase) all at once. However, if the hair follicles are healthy they will typically grow back around 3-6 months after the initial trauma.


While yes, having a hair transplant with DPA can cause an increased risk of shock loss that doesn't mean that a successful procedure cannot be obtained. Millions of men and women worldwide have hair transplant procedures without any issues or permanent shock loss. However, the outcome of the procedure is determined by the surgeon that is selected.

This is why it is crucial to select a hair transplant surgeon that has a long track record of producing excellent results.

Moreover, it is important that the surgeon has a reputation built on providing their patients with excellent results instead of a reputation built on marketing gimmicks and advertisements.


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    All Articles by Melvin Lopez

    Melvin is an Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center. He is a 3-time hair transplant patient, having received over 5,000 grafts via FUE. He has thousands of helpful posts on the popular hair restoration network discussion forum. Melvin writes articles, moderates the hair loss forum, and creates YouTube videos for the Hair Transplant Network YouTube channel. View Melvin's impressive hair transplant journey HERE.