Dear Balding Blog Contributors, I mean no offense by this post-I am genuinely just intrigued.
After reading 32 pages of baldingblog.com blog posts which mentioned shock loss, I was intrigued by the attitude that was expressed, which seemed to be ‘shock loss happens, deal with it-propecia may help’.
What intrigues me is that this attitude seems to be contrary to your role as pioneering doctors in this field. After seeing shock loss affect and no doubt traumatize patients paying large sums of money to GAIN hair, should you not be investigating treatments which may help to reduce it? I’m no expert, but off the top of my head I can think of drugs to reduce the immune system’s rejection of hairs, drugs to calm inflammation or stress in the body, topical drugs for the same end, dietary supplements etc.
Am I missing something, or is the attitude I have interpreted you as expressing a little negligent of the well being of hair transplant patients?
Maybe you are missing the point. We (at least here at NHI) do not recommend hair transplants to patients who are at risk for significant shock loss, but some hair loss will occur that is inevitable with or without any medication. There will also be some form of nerve damage with surgery (both strip and FUE) in the small cutaneous nerves that are all over the scalp. This will make the scalp feel numb for several weeks to months, more in some areas than others. There will also be some pain while we’re at it, which may persist after the procedure (minor pain to some and rarely severe to others). These are just a few of the risks associated with surgery. We do not take this lightly. It is an educational and informed process that all surgery candidates go through. You don’t just show up to have surgery and get great hair. There are always these risks that need to be considered for the benefit of looking better (more hair). If any of the risks are unacceptable to both the patient and the surgeon we do not go ahead with the surgery.
Some patients are rightfully concerned about shock loss with hair transplant surgery, but they should not be obsessed with it. Reality is that even without surgery, hair loss will happen if you have the balding gene (pattern). That is the reason why people have surgery, right? And the timing of surgery is highly variable for each individual who comes for a consultation. If the risk of shock hair loss is too great then we will hold off on surgery with medication until the benefits will outweigh the risks. An example of this would be someone in their early 20’s who is rapidly losing hair and is not on medications (like finasteride), but still has a decent amount of existing hair to cover their thinning. These are things that cannot be conveyed completely on a blog, as each case is different.
To be clear, there have been no medications that completely stop genetic hair loss or shock hair loss. At best what we have seen in our 20+ years in practice is that Propecia helps with shock loss. If you can point out the drugs you are referring to which “reduce the immune systems rejection of hairs”, please let us know. Immune suppression is a dangerous process. Take note, however, anti-rejection types of drugs you may be referring to have many unfavorable and sometimes dangerous or deadly side effects. One minor side side effect is… hair loss. Not so simple, eh?