January 12 2006, 2:36 pm PT | Posted in: Hair Transplantation
I am a young teenager who is not balding (yet.) I am worried about hairloss, because every male in my family is totally bald, except on the sides and back. I probably will have it by the time I turn 25 or 30(never asked anyone in my family when they started to lose hair, but I know my uncle started to lose hair at about 27 or 28.) But I have a question about my hair now. My hair has always had these various areas where there is really thin hair. They are like lines, not spots and seem very thin. I really don’t want to take pills or other applications to keep the hair I have, but am considering hair transplants when I do start to experience male pattern balding. If I do get hair transplants will there be an option to make my hair thicker? If not, will taking propecia after a hair transplant session make it thicker, or at least make the thin areas seem thicker? Please respond. Thank you for your time.
People use the word “thickness” to describe various contributors to ‘fullness’ that reflect very different aspects of hair; (a) the diameter of the hair shaft (i.e. the mass of the hair), (b) the density of the hair per square centimeter of scalp, (c) the character or wavy nature of the hair, (d) the color and contrast between hair and skin color (the lower the better). Propecia can improve the diameter of the hair shaft in a balding area, stop its eventual loss, or possibly make it regrow making the area thicker. Transplants can add donor hair (from the back) in between native hair (at the top or wherever the thinning area is) to increase the density of the hair in a particular area, also making it thicker. It is a little more complicated then this explanation, but not much. Doing both together (Propecia and Transplants), as you might imagine, will have an additive effect – that is, it will look even better. But doing both may not always be the right thing, if the anticipation of the results of Propecia alone may achieve the results without a hair transplsnt. Then you get the benefits without a surgery. That means that when you get evaluated by a doctor who can transplant your hair, you want a doctor with high integrity, one who will not recommend surgery if there is a reasonable possibility that Propecia alone will do the job.
As an aside, every male (and even some females) in my family also has some degree of hair loss, so I know where you are coming from. First and foremost, please get an assessment of miniaturization in order to detect when and if the genetic process started. A yearly check with a good doctor should show that to you. If and when you start balding, you may want to reconsider your decision not “to take pills or other applications to keep the hair I have.” Recent studies indicate that patients get the most improvement and are happiest when they keep the hair that they have, in addition to replacing what they have lost. As a surgeon I can tell you that nature does it a lot better than any doctor can – keeping what you’ve got is truly the best course of action overall.