Hair transplant surgery is the #1 cosmetic surgery for young men worldwide. The hair restoration industry continues to grow each year in popularity, but there is an alarming trend that goes unnoticed. What trend specifically? Well the trend of young men chasing perfection through surgery without stabilizing their genetic hair loss. In this article, we will discuss the negative effects of having a hair transplant without stabilzing androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss).
What Do You Mean Unstable Hair Loss?
Androgenic alopecia is a progressive condition that spreads and gets worse over time. In the beginning, most hair loss sufferers notice their hair loss confined to their temples and hairline, but as the condition progresses, the hair loss spreads to the mid section and crown (vertex). Additionally, depending on the individuals genetic vulnearability to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the lateral humps may drop significantly and without warning. DHT is the main hormone responsible for triggering genetic hair loss. Sadly, most young individuals with genetic hair loss have what is referred to as "unstable" hair loss. The hair loss is unstable usually due to age or lack of medical intervention.
What Happens When You Have A Hair Transplant With Unstable Hair Loss?
There are several issues that can arise from having a hair transplant with unstable androgenic alopecia, but the most common issue is looking worse after surgery. As stated previously, the rate an individual loses hair depends on the individuals genetic make up. However, a hair transplant can actually accerlarate the hair loss process by "shocking" the native (non-transplanted) hair. This is commonly referred to as shock loss or telogen effluvium. Shock loss is a condition that generally resolves on its own. However, if the androgenic alopecia is unstable many of the follicles that were "shocked" do not grow back. Consequently, leaving many patients looking balder than they did before surgery. In addition, some patients choose to transplant aggressive hairlines that mimic the hairline they had when they were juveniles. Unfortunately, this can set the patient up for failure, as they continue to lose more hair, there simply isn't enough donor supply to adequately cover the other balding areas. This can leave patients with an island of hair that looks artificial and unnatural.
So How Do You Stabilize Hair Loss?
Currently, there are two medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat heriditary hair loss. The first medication Rogaine (minoxidil) was approved to be sold over the counter by the FDA in 1996. The exact mechanism of how minoxidil works is relatively unknown. However, many believe the medication works by prolonging the hair follicles anagen (growth) phase. Thus, significantly delaying the balding process. The second medication Propecia (finasteride) was approved by the FDA in 1997 to treat genetic hair loss. However, Finasteride requires a doctors prescription and can not be purchased over the counter. Finasteride inhibits the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone in to DHT through the blood stream. DHT is the main hormone responsible for causing hair loss. Consequently, stabilizing androgenic alopecia by significantly redudcing the rate of hair loss and in some cases stopping hair loss entirely.