Problem: I’m a 35-year old woman who started experiencing hair loss at the early age of 17. Now, I have thin and fine hair strands, and my hairline is receding. I am thinking of considering hair transplant, but is it the best option for my condition? Most importantly, am I qualified for this type of surgery?
Though only a hair loss consultant or hair transplant doctor can determine who qualifies for transplantation, there are factors and general rules to help them consider the best candidates for this surgical hair restoration option. Below are some of them.
What is the best age for hair transplant? Young people (those under the age of 27) are usually not good candidates for transplant surgery since the hair loss may not be mature enough, or the pattern of baldness may not be established completely. Early transplant may cause the incorrect distribution of a finite amount of donor hair, resulting in operations throughout the person’s life if baldness progresses. Also, the doctor may have no way of knowing exactly how severe the future hair loss will be, resulting in unrealistic expectations and making the patient dissatisfied with the outcome of the hair transplant.
Hair loss in women is usually different in appearance compared with hair loss in men. Women have a diffuse thinning throughout the entire head while men typically have localised areas of thinning. Women who are experiencing diffuse hair thinning are not good candidates of transplant surgery, but those who have a distinct pattern of baldness, including vertex thinning, hairline recession and a donor area that is not affected by androgenetic alopecia, are good candidates for this type of hair regrowth procedure. Patients with alopecia areata are not good candidates for hair transplant due to the erratic nature of the condition, one never knows the full extent of the hair loss or future hair regrowth
Exhibiting the right hair and scalp condition has a great impact on the outcome of the transplantation. Good candidates of hair transplant are patients with higher hair density (the number of hair strands per unit of surface area). Why? This is because the number of follicular units you can transfer is limited to the amount of hair available at the donor area (the back of the scalp). Hence, if the hair is denser in this region, the doctor will have more hair grafts available for transplant and achieve better hair coverage.
Ethnicity has a significant role in the success or failure of a hair restoration procedure. Since this restoration technique depends on the hair density, the outcome of the procedure may differ among various groups. Asians have very straight hair and have less follicular density compared with Caucasians. Africans have coarser and curlier strands which are advantageous for hair transplant. But no matter what the ethnicity, the best way to learn if you are a good candidate of hair transplant is to consult an expert in this field.
Scalp laxity refers to how loose or flexible the scalp is. The looser the scalp, the more donor hair can be removed and transferred, and the lesser the chance of scarring. A patient with a tight scalp may not be a good candidate for transplantation since it may result to painful scarring.
Although doctors have their own set of factors and rules used to determine whether the patient is a good candidate of hair transplant or not, these are some of the most common factors that can establish which patients best qualify for this hair restoration option.
If a hair transplant is something you would like to consider, you can contact our experts to explore the possibilities of undergoing this type of hair restoration. Our hair consultants are trained to determine whether hair regrowth can be achieved through a transplant surgery.