Some people wonder, now that Propecia is on the market, are hair transplants really necessary? The answer is yes. Propecia is an FDA-approved treatment for hair loss but it does have its limitations. Hair restoration surgery is the only proven method of permanent hair replacement. That's why many men and women turn to surgery after other treatments (that include Rogaine for women) haven't offered complete results. But, now that more is known about treating hair loss, it doesn't have to be one or the other.
Keep in mind, if you have hereditary hair loss due to too much DHT, even a hair replacement can't fix that. So, in some cases, hair replacement surgeons will recommend that you take Propecia as a partner to your successful hair surgery. This is because Propecia is a DHT blocker. In fact, it is known to start blocking this hormone that contributes to premature hair loss immediately. Typically a significant decrease in the level of hair shedding can be seen in three months. So, don't be surprised if your hair implant surgeon recommends you take Propecia but take into consideration there are some side effects to this drug, so it may not be for you.
In addition to this recommendation, your surgeon might recommend several additional, complementary treatments and products such as laser combs, minoxidil foam (the generic form of Rogaine), follicle spray, special conditioners and shampoos and even vitamin supplements of Vitamin A, C, E, and a number of B vitamins. For more information on products that stimulate hair growth, visit www.mhrusa.com.
Some of the details surrounding hair restoration surgery might make one a little scared. But, even though the procedure involves removing grafts from one area of the head under local anesthesia, it can be performed on an outpatient basis. You should feel only minimal pain during the procedure. The area donating grafts, called a donor site, will be cleansed and then small needles will be used to administer the anesthesia. To locate an appropriate donor site, the surgeon will concentrate on areas of the head where normal hair growth is still occurring. The surgeon will use a scalpel to remove one or more portions of the scalp. These will be set aside while sutures are used to closed the incision(s). Then a surgeon will use a magnifying glass to separate hairs in the portion(s) that has been removed. The donor strip is actually dissected into what are called follicular units. These units sprout as little as one hair or as many as four. Some experts believe that no more than three hairs per unit offers the best results. The area of your head that will recieve the transplanted hairs is then numbed in the same way as the donor site was. Tiny holes are made in the scalp and these units are then placed in the holes. A qualified surgeon knows how to delicately and artistically place these grafts so that they will be undetectable after you heal from surgery and the hair that grows will do so at a variety of angles, just as your healthy hair already does. Because the newly transplated hairs grow naturally and slowly, the change you and others see will be a gradual rather than a sudden effect.
Can women get hair transplants just like men? While most treatments target male pattern baldness, surgical hair replacements are also performed on women.
Many women have confessed to spending years and thousands of dollars on pointless hair loss creams, hormone therapies, holistic approaches and eventually wigs. Because most balding solutions target men, women often end up trying treatments that are unproven and not effective.
Ultimately, a hair loss replacement is the only permanent way to restore a full head of hair. A popular way to approach hair loss surgery is through micro-grafts consisting of up to three hairs, also referred to as follicle units. Only a skilled doctor can tell you how many hair grafts are necessary to reach your goals and the overall look you desire.
Woman hair-loss treatments are now very advanced and typically produce natural results. Better yet, transplanted hair grows permanently. Also, modern methods allow surgeons to place permanent hair in front of, behind and within scar tissue, covering up any serious scars.
It is normal for people in their twenties to lose hair every day. In fact, some people might lose 50 to 100 daily. Normal hair loss and growth occurs in three phases over the course of approximately six years: a growth phase, a shedding phase and a resting phase.
Baldness happens when the second phase exceeds the first. If you are not sure you are experiencing normal hair loss, get an examination and diagnosis from a physician who specializes in hair restoration. Another symptom of baldness or total hair loss is noticing excessive hair in the shower drain or on a pillow. Women might see an overall thinning of the hair on the scalp, or a frontal temporal recession.
If you find yourself changing your hairstyle to cover hair loss, then it is not normal loss. In men, this can be in the form of a combover that typically draws attention to the bald spot underneath. Many women believe that coloring makes the hair appear thicker, but the bleaching often required actually reduces hair density.
The best time to seek a hair transplant or other method of dealing with hair loss is when it begins. For men, that is when the hairline starts to recede; for women it is when you pull your hair back in a ponytail or braid and it appears thinner than ever before.
The FDA-approved pill Propecia inhibits the formation of DHT, a hair-loss causing hormone, in the scalp. Experts believe that DHT shortens the growth phase of hair follicles, causing them to shrink until there is less hair left on the scalp. Propecia is thought to help not only reduce further hair loss, but also enable new hair growth.
Propecia is obtained by prescription only. Unlike Rogaine, Propecia is a systemic and not a topical treatment. As with many medications, some side effects may occur. In clinical studies, less than two percent of men experienced certain temporary sexual side effects. These included less desire for sex, decreased semen levels and difficulty achieving an erection.
While Propecia was developed to treat mild to moderate male pattern baldness on the top of the head and mid-scalp region, evidence does not suggest it works for receding hairlines. Additionally, women and children should never take Propecia. In fact, women who may become or are pregnant should not handle crushed or broken bits of the drug because of the possibility of birth defects. If this accidentally happens to you, consult your doctor immediately. Propecia tablets are coated to prevent coming into contact with the active ingredient during normal handling. Given all this information, Propecia is still widely known as one of the most effective hair loss solutions on the market.
When you leave the office after a hair transplant, you'll likely wear a cover-up of some sort to protect the new grafts. But, since the scalp is very vascular, the tissue starts to feed the follicle and healing begins immediately following hair grafts. A slight scab will form on the exterior of the scalp, and fall off after about a week. Then hair follicles go into a resting phase and - like all hair - transplanted hair grows relatively slowly. This is not necessarily a bad thing since you'll want the fact that you had a transplant to be undetectable. A normal rate of hair growth is about half an inch per month. At about three months, transplanted hair begins to grow and will grow at the rate your hair normally does. In about 10 to 12 months, you'll feel like the results of hair transplant surgery are complete. This transplanted hair will grow forever without any special additional treatment. Have you ever seen commercials with men who have had hair restoration treatment swimming and washing their hair? That's because, after successful hair transplant surgery, you won't need to worry about getting your head wet and seeing more hair loss in the drain or on your beach towel. Since donor hair for hair transplantation is 'borrowed' from areas of your head that are not bald or receding, this hair will keep growing just as that hair does, not as the previous hair you lost along your hairline or on the crown of your head. In this way, quality hair replacement surgery offers you permanent results!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|