I just joined your hair loss forum tonight after searching for information for about a week. I decided it's now time to take action. I am 23 and have a significant receding hairline with the "island" effect and an unmistakable bald spot on my crown. Looking at the Norwood scale of hair loss, I'd say I'm around a level 4. Who is the best "bang for buck" doctor who also does quality work?
I'm glad to see that you've found our hair restoration community and are researching your options prior to making any decisions. I am very reluctant to recommend hair transplantation for you since you're already a class 4 on the Norwood scale and only 23 years old. In a nutshell, you are in a high risk group.
The probability that you will lose more hair without medical intervention is quite high. Are you taking Propecia and/or Rogaine? Why or why not? If you have any hope of preventing baldness from continuing, consider getting on these two non-surgical hair loss treatments. I'd recommend an in-person consult with a reputable hair restoration physician. But the consultation should focus on helping you to understand your hair loss and develop a long term hair restoration plan. Quite frankly, I'd suggest that you're not an optimal candidate for a hair transplant surgery at this time. For example, what happens in a couple years after your hair transplant and you've become a Norwood 5A? What happens if you progress to a Norwood level 7 by the time you're 30? It often takes more than one hair transplant procedure to meet a patient's current goals let alone requirements in the event of future hair loss. What can be realistically accomplished with surgical hair replacement on higher classes of baldness also needs to be considered. If you do progress to a Norwood 7, can you live with a thinner appearance of transplanted hair in the front with a bald crown? In my opinion, get on Propecia and Rogaine for a couple years to see if this helps stablize your hair loss. Re-evaluate your position in a couple years and save your money. Hair restoration is not just a process that takes time, but a financial investment.