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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.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|