thinning hairMale-pattern hair loss (MPHL) can be a traumatising experience for many men and it often claimed that the only thing that can actually tackle the condition permanently and reverse the hair loss is surgery, in the form of a hair transplant.

What is a hair transplant?

The process is actually quite simple and involves a surgeon relocating hair from one part of the head to the other. Typically MPHL affects the front and top of the head, whilst the hair on the back and sides tends to be more stable and more resistant to thinning.

Dr William Yates of Dr Yates Hair Science in Vernon Hills Illinois describes the procedure as, “almost like farming. It’s just a reallocation of resources”. Yates also claims a success rate of around 90% because the problem lies with the hair follicles and not the scalp so transplanted healthy hair generally doesn’t fall out.

The downsides

There are a couple of downsides. The first is the cost, with the procedure costing between $8,000 and $10,000 (That’s about £5,000 – £7,000) depending on the scale of the procedure. Assuming that this isn’t too great a barrier the patient should also consider that the treatment doesn’t give instant gratification, with new hair taking 3-4 months to grow and that the hair at the back and sides will be a little thinner permanently.

Other Options

Happily, there are other options for balding men, which can be quite effective without the need for surgery. Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a technique whereby microhairs are drawn on to the scalp to create the illusion of a tightly cropped hairstyle. The results can be startlingly realistic and the process can be used in conjunction with a transplant to create the impression of denser hair.

If hair loss has been spotted early enough, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) could be the way forward. This painless process works by penetrating the epidermis of the scalp and increasing the metabolism in the cells. By itself it’s unlikely to stimulate many hairs back into a growth cycle but it can be very effective in halting hair loss.

Often it is used in conjunction with Mesotherapy whereby a solution of vitamins and other compounds are injected directly into the scalp. These compounds can include Finasteride and Minoxidil which are both FDA approved and can also be administered in tablet and mousse form.

Whilst it’s clear that there are several treatments for a hair loss a patient can only expect successful results and actual hair re-growth by opting for surgery and a hair transplant.

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By Ian Watson

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