Is my donor area thick enough and did I have any signs of miniaturization there? Most men I have seen that are bald on top have a much thicker back area of their hair that is not affected by mpb than I do. From your experience and knowledge is it good enough not only to be used as a donor now, but also in the future if I need to cover crown or do any other procedure. It seems to me that my hair is too thin in the back to conceal a scar and that it might possibly thin out a lot when im older. But I’m not a professional so please give me your opinion and insight. The scars all look thin enough for contentment but its when you dont have hair growing around it making it look like someone scrapped a bald line in the back of your head with a hair cutting tool.
When I reviewed your microscopic exam I found it to shows you have only 10% miniaturization in that particular area. Less than 20% hair miniaturization measurement is within normal range for someone with male pattern baldness (MPB). As we discussed before, if you keep your hair the same length as during your consultation, you should not be able to see the scar. We perform double edged trichophytic closure for most patients which minimizes the visibility of a scar even when you decide to keep your hair very short.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a byproduct of the hormone testosterone, which is formed in different areas such as the prostate gland and hair follicles. Hair follicles which are susceptible to genetic male patterned baldness contain DHT receptors. Over time as males produce more and more DHT the molecules affect hair follicles and cause them to become decrease in size, and eventually fall out permanently.
DHT and having the gene of male pattern baldness are the primary contributing factors for male pattern baldness. Women with female-pattern baldness, unlike men with male-pattern baldness, are usually not characterized by increased production rates of DHT due to their low levels of testosterone. However if for any reason a woman has increased testosterone, she may develop female patterned baldness just like a man does with the same mechanism.
Hair in the areas that are prone to male patterned baldness such as corners, top and crown areas are loaded with DHT receptors in men with Androgenetic Alopecia. However, the hair on donor areas such as back and sides do not have as much DHT receptors. This is why hair is more permanent on the sides and back as opposed to the top and front.
The distinction in hair quality on different areas (donor vs. recipient) allows a hair transplant surgeon to remove hair from one area and transplant it to the balding portions of the scalp. These transplanted hairs are permanent and won’t be affected by circulating DHT. Finasteride (Propecia) is a drug that blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT by blocking the enzyme alpha reductase. DHT levels in hair loss patients decrease when they are on Propecia and this helps maintain healthy hair, and this helps some of the miniaturized hair become stronger.
We recommend medical treatment with DHT blockers in many of our patients who undergo a hair transplant procedure to help maintaining their own hair in addition to restoring the balding areas with hair restoration surgery.
hi doc I have another question for you. I was wondering…when a person begins taking Finasteride, they go thru an accelerated shedding period that lasts roughly 3-6 months. After this initial period of shedding, just say that the Finasteride works and stabilizes the loss. Does the person end up growing back the hair that was lost during the accelerated shed? What if it doesn’t grow back? Is this the price that you must pay to halt or slow down loss with Finasteride? Do you have to take your amount of hair a step down in order maintain whatever’s left?
What if you fall into that 20-25% category of users who don’t respond to Finasteride in terms of hair stabilization? You could end up just accelerating your loss for those 6 months for no reason at all. Whether you stay on it or off, after this period, you will continue to lose. This is a big risk for people thinking about taking meds.
Hair shedding is not equivalent to hair loss and shed hair will regrow as normal (especially in long and thick hair that is not miniaturized).
People who take Finasteride may have increased levels of hair shedding possibly due to increased hair cycling within the first few weeks or months of taking Finasteride, but the initial hair shedding should resolve within a month or two from the start date. Final effects of Finasteride should be assessed after at least 6 months from the time the medication was started, but can be seen as late as 12 months from when you start the medication.
For more information on this topic, please feel free to check out an earlier blog post below:
Quick question for you doc.
I was wondering, will I need to buzz off all my hair before a hair transplant surgery? It really doesn’t matter, but I just want to know what I’m getting into. I imagine that my remaining hair, while very thin, obscures the scalp too much for comfort.
While some patients with significant miniaturization of their existing hair may be asked to cut it short or clip it, we typically are able to do this in office before the procedure if they are OK with it. Clipping hair is not mandatory in any way. However, it may increase our precision in some patients and we do it for them only if they have no problem with having very short hair for a while after hair transplant.
Using hair from other parts of the body for transplantation into scalp has been used for many years. Unfortunately though, the change in the life cycle of body hair from different areas of the body has caused the body hair to stay as the last option for scalp hair restoration. Body hair has long resting phase and short growth phase which means that most of the transplanted hair will stay in resting phase without having visible hair growth.
Facial hair such as beard and mustache hair on the other hand has a longer growth phase and shorter resting phase. That is why men can grow their facial hair to become really long. Facial hair is also thicker than scalp hair in most people. Thicker hair could be translated as more bulk of hair after hair transplantation. Both longer growth phase and thicker hair shafts make beard hair a better option for scalp hair restoration in comparison to body hair transplant from other areas.
There are two problems with with beard hair restoration. One is that they are very sparse and removing hair only needs to be done through a strip procedure. The other problem with using facial hair for scalp transplant is that the facial follicular units are having fewer number of hair per unit that means less hair per grafts removed with FUE techniques.
Beard transplants are gaining popularity recently with newer techniques for extraction of hair (FUE) and it can be a great alternative to scalp hair for transplanting to the balding area in people who do not have good quality scalp hair.
Hi doc? could Rogaine foam have adverse effect on hair transplant result? some say it helps for hair growth, some say it does not add to hair growth, but have you seen any where saying it might prevent hair growth on men with hair transplant? thanks.
Rogaine (minoxidil) can be used after hair transplantation (only on the newly transplanted area) to protect the native hair and not to promote the growth of transplanted hair. Transplanted hair does not need any medication to promote permanence or grow and if chosen correctly it is considered to be a permanent hair loss solution. I personally recommend Propecia to protect patient’s existing hair against shock loss (losing native hair) after hair transplant on men. It is proven that this medication works better than Rogaine for shock loss prevention and has had remarkable results in those patients who have used it as directed. Women cannot use Propecia and I tend to offer them Rogaine as an alternative for the few months following their hair restoration.
I come from china ，I would like to consult your organization a few questions:
In your experience,usually Asians（chinese people) the normal growth of the number of roots Per cm² of hair? Head at the top and post-occipital whether there are different?
using FUE technology，on one operation ，After the occipital Site get the maxinum number of FU (Asians including 2-3 days operation) at present,how much FU can be planted per square centimeter on Planting area? Between the scope of? and the percentage with normal?
Looking forward to your reply Details!
Thanks for your questions.
Here are the answers in the order they were received:
The number of hair follicles in non-balding areas of scalp like occipital areas have been studied. A range of 80 – 120 follicular units (FUs) per centimeter were reported. The density of follicular units vary in different locations of the scalp. Also, the number of hairs per follicular unit vary in different areas and with different races. For example, Asians usually have less number of hair follicles per cm², so even with similar number of FUs per cm², the density of their donor area is still less than Caucasians. To calculate the number of hair per cm², you have to average the number of hairs per FU and multiply it by the number of FUs per cm².
The shaft of hair may or may not be different in different areas of the scalp. Obviously, if you are balding, you see more miniaturization and less terminal hair, which makes the appearance of the hair less dense on the area. However, without baldness, hair quality would be the same in back and top of the head.
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is more labor intense and requires more time for harvesting the grafts. For that reason, FUE procedures are generally smaller in terms of the number of grafts per session. What we do at US Hair Restoration is up to 1,500 grafts per day on average, for 8 to 10 hours work in a FUE procedure. The number may occasionally go up to 2,000 grafts, too, but not everyone can expect to get that number with FUE.
There are many research projects on this topic. The number can be as high as normal density in some circumstances. However, practically we can make up to 35%-40% of the normal density in one session. This is a good number if you consider that the density of hair on frontal areas could be about half of the hair on the donor area in some patients, so 35%-40% is not that far from the normal density in those patients.
I had a hair transplant surgery a month ago. As it turns out, I have a huge amount of shock loss right now. As i’ve never taken propecia before, do you think it’s too late to combat this shock loss with propecia? Any suggestions on how i could eliminate this shock loss from further damage? I hope my hair will return.
To prevent shock loss, it is never too late for Propecia (finasteride) if you really need it. You may not get the maximum benefit as if you started on the medications before your hair transplant, but your shock loss may not have been completed yet.
We generally start our patients on Propecia a few days prior to their hair transplant so the medication is in the system at its therapeutic level on the day of surgery.
Many people choose to continue the medication after hair restoration surgery and we encourage that. We continue the medication for 6 to 8 months after the hair transplant, depending on the degree of miniaturization for patients who do not want to be on finasteride for the rest of their lives or the ones who have minimal miniaturization. After the first few months, the chance of shock loss due to the hair restoration surgery is very minimal but it still may occur.
Thanks Dr. Mohebi,
Your input is much appreciated. The shock loss you had mentioned has been my concern, as a few of my frontal hair seem lighter than before. You had mentioned that the shock loss might be visible for a few weeks to months – will it be the case that after that shock loss stage, the hair will likely return back to original form?
There’s a very important question that i would like to ask you, and was thinking the it would be great for the blog to have. Basically, when you saw my before and after picture, i feel like i changed a bit. The “after” picture seems like i have more redness, and i’m hoping it’s not the case where the hair transplant affects the circulation (e.g., tight donor area/scalp affecting the blood flow to my head). My surgeon told me before the procedure that i will eventually be back to the way i was before (i.e., the “before” picture), but just have a new scar and more gafted hairs. That’s the ultimate question: would you agree that a patient who does a hair transplant will relatively return to the condition that he was before the particular sugery (w/ of course, a new scar and more hair)? This is what keeps me up at night, thinking perhaps my scalp has worsened, or i am now more prone to lose hair. I hope that’s not the case, and every patient should be aware about before she or he gets a hair transplant done.
Thanks again for your help. If I see you in person at your office, I might be interested in discussing about future scar work.
Some of the hair shafts that fall off due to shock loss might come back. Especially if the shock loss happens in an area with permanent hair like back of the head. However, losing hair in the frontal area because of shock loss might not be completely reversible. But, you have to understand that falling hairs are the ones that were supposed to fall off anyway and a hair transplant just accelerates the loss.
Again, using finasteride can significantly reduce the extent of shock loss. After surgery, in the transplanted area, the tightness should not affect the circulation of the scalp. After a few days to weeks, on the donor area, the tightness goes back to normal.
And to answer to your last question, I do not agree you go back to the condition before surgery with only a new scar and some more hair. What I personally do in a repeat surgery is remove the old scar; the patient at the end has only one scar that at times may be even better than the initial scar.
I perform trichophytic closure when I think it is the final surgery that the patient may need. Trichophytic closure is when we close scalp skin on the back in a way that hair can grow through the scar. Trichophytic closure reduces the contrast between donor scar and surrounding areas that eventually improve the appearance of the scar, so you are not more prone to hair loss because of your hair transplant.
In some cases and when we are looking for even less visible scar, the scar may get filled with FUE into the scar in a few months from the initial surgery.
Be patient and you should be able to see results in the coming months.