Getting Your Hair Back
Hair loss is a normal part of aging. By the time they reach age 60, more than 60% of men have lost a significant amount of their hair, causing serious balding in more than 35 million American men. Balding usually starts at the hairline on the forehead and temples. And as the hairline starts receding, the next area to be affected is the crown of the head.
Eventually the two areas meet and the only hair left is a fringe. Many men suffer from at least some loss of self-esteem as their hair disappears. And for the 21 million women with significant balding in the United States, hair loss can be devastating. Bald men are often considered attractive, but bald women tend to be thought of as pathetic.
The treatments advocated for hair loss have been many and varied over the centuries. From the application of crocodile fat recommended in an ancient Egyptian papyrus to Hippocrates' rather radical proposal that castration would work, the number of false claims and scams is endless. In the 1930s a device called the "Thermocap" was marketed, looking like a large fez, which bathed the scalp with ultraviolet light. That didn't work either.
Getting your hair back
Advertisements today for ineffectual therapies can be found everywhere. There are, however, three treatments that work. Minoxidil. a drug originally developed for high blood pressure, is applied to the scalp. Finasteride, usually prescribed for men, is taken orally. But the most effective treatment is hair transplantation.
The two outer layers of the scalp are the skin and the subcutaneous tissue, the layer that supplies blood to the hair follicles. In balding areas these two layers show thinning and loss of blood supply, while the lower scalp remains normal.
Hairs grow in groups of one to four hairs, wrapped together in bundles. The bundles must be transplanted with care, but the results can be amazing, as well as looking totally natural. The process takes time and usually at least two or three sessions. After the procedures, the individual will see hair growth and then suddenly at about one month all the hair will fall out. This is normal. The hair follicles will then start regenerating and within four or five months the hair will return, becoming thicker. Maximum growth is achieved at about one year.
An experienced surgeon will be able to achieve a 95% survival rate for the hair follicles. However, the individual must understand that as he continues to age, the scalp will also age and he will continue to lose hair. He and his surgeon must plan ahead for this eventuality. Transplantation techniques for women are very different, since women tend to have thinning of hair follicles at the crown of the head. The results, though, are just as good.
As with any surgical procedure, there can be complications, especially bleeding problems and infection. Scarring at either the donor graft site or the recipient graft site can also occur. However, studies have found that overall the complication rate is less than 5%. When the studies are done focusing only on surgeons who do hair transplant exclusively, the rates are much lower.
Hair transplantation is a safe and very successful method of restoring hair onto bald scalp and restoring self-esteem and self-confidence at the same time.