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Who is a Qualified Hair Transplant Candidate?

11/2/2007 9:40:52 AM

Many hair loss sufferers will ask whether or not they are a qualified hair transplant candidate on our hair restoration forum. Though only a qualified hair transplant physician will truly be able to determine whether or not you are a qualified hair transplant candidate, below you will find some general principles to consider about hair restoration surgery.

For many hair loss sufferers (especially those with lesser amounts of hair loss), it is recommended to get on hair loss medication such as Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxodil) for at least 6 months to a year before considering hair restoration surgery. These two FDA approved hair loss remedies are typically quite effective, especially when used together to fight against future hair loss and might even regrowh hair. Laser Therapy has also recently been FDA approved, however, there has been a lot of debate whether or not it is an effective hair loss treatment. Click here for more information.

Younger people may not be good candidates for hair transplantation surgery. In very specific cases however, some qualified hair transplant doctors may decide to perform hair transplantation on a younger patient. The younger the hair restoration patient however, the greater the risks.  See: Am I Too Young for a Hair Transplant?

Those who just started to lose hair will most likely not be a qualified candidate for hair transplantation. It would be in these hair loss sufferers best interest to try hair restoration medication first.

Those hair loss sufferers with diffuse pattern baldness CAN BE qualified and sometimes the best hair transplant candidates typically yielding the most cosmetically pleasing benefit. Keep in mind that diffuse pattern baldness is different than diffuse alopecia. To see the difference between these two, click here. Keep in mind however, that the loss of additional natural hair may result in the need for subsequent hair transplant procedures since overall hair density will be decreased with additional natural hair loss. There is also an additiona risk of shock loss anytime hair is transplanted in between or around natural hairs. Learn how to minimize the risk of shock loss.

With hair transplantation, more follicular unit grafts are typically needed for a cosmetically pleasing result in the crown area than the frontal third of your scalp.  Some of this has to do with the fact that the area needed to be covered may be larger. Other factors include direction and angles of the hair, and lighting. Those with extensive hair loss should never expect to receive a full head of hair with hair transplantation, but an illusion of hair coverage and hair density.  This doesn’t mean those considering hair transplantation should rule out grafting the crown.  It only means that a long term strategy must be used to determine the appropriate use of a finite donor supply.

Hair loss sufferers who have gotten "control" of their hair loss - whether it slowed down or stopped naturally or by using hair loss medication may be good candidates for hair transplantation. Alternatively, those whose hair loss is NOT under control should first consider Propecia and Rogaine to see if it will work for them. Keep in mind these FDA hair loss drugs should be used for at least one year before determining their effectiveness. It is also important to understand that they MIGHT be working if they have at least maintained one's existing natural hair even if they didn't regrow hair.

Most people who undergo hair transplant surgery typically need more than one throughout their lifetime. Subsequent hair restoration surgeries may be needed/wanted if any of the following are true:

  1. Additional native hair is lost after the first hair restoration procedure
  2. Those with excessive hair thinning and/or baldness may require more than one hair transplant surgeon to accomplish their hair restoration goals. Hair restoration goals should be discussed at the initial consultation with the hair restoration surgeon.
  3. You want to add more density because the initial result gave you a thinner appearance that you anticipated. 

The important thing to remember is that hair transplantation is not a cure for hair loss. Hair loss is also a progressive condition that will most likely continue - especially for those who only started losing their hair. With a finite donor supply available in hair transplantation, planning for the long term is extremely important. For those qualified hair transplant candidates, selecting the right hair restoration physician is vital in ensuring a successful and natural looking hair transplant. Hair transplantation is an investment which is why doing it right the first time is extremely important. A bad hair transplant experience will end up