I would like to share with you a story written by a woman named Melba who has been with The Women’s Hair Loss Project since last October. Before I share her story, I’d like to talk a little about hair transplants and my thoughts on women being candidates for this procedure. I have written in the past that I am not particularly a fan of hair transplantation in women. The reason for this being the common diffuse pattern of hair loss prevalent among many women who experience thinning hair. I am not a physician and everything I write is simply my opinion based on my own hair loss and that of all the images I have seen published by the members of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network, along with the many stories I have received from women who had less than favorable outcomes from hair restoration surgery.
In a hair transplant procedure a strip of hair is removed from the back of the head and the follicles are implanted into the thinning areas. For men this usually works out great because the area in the back of the head is usually DHT resistant, which is why even in the baldest male, he will usually maintain that rim of hair around the bottom portion of his scalp. In many women with female pattern hair loss, the hair falls from all over the scalp in a more diffuse pattern. I say pattern, but it is really a lack of pattern, it is just from here and there and everywhere. For myself I lose hair from the top, both sides and also the back of the head (top and bottom) and my hair has fallen this way for the last 9 years. So I know I make a very poor candidate for a hair transplant procedure since any hair moved could potentially just fall out the next day. Many of the 1400+ members of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network have the same type of hair loss as myself, so it seems this is more the norm for female androgenetic alopecia than an occasional occurence.
Having said all that, I have to ask, how can a woman with diffuse female pattern hair loss be a candidate for surgical hair restoration? I simply cannot wrap my mind around that, yet there are some physicans who believe that hair transplantation is a viable option for women with this type of hair loss. [click to continue…]
Does anyone know anything about hair transplants…I’m really considering it. I have an appointment on Nov 8… Has anyone here had a hair transplant? What do I need to qualify for one?
It is my opinion that most women who suffer with typical female pattern hair loss are not candidates for hair transplantation. The reason being, usually women’s hair loss exhibits itself in a diffuse thinning all over the scalp leaving no stable donor hair. In order to understand what I am referring to it is important to first understand how a hair transplant is performed. Since I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here, with permission I am republishing the hair transplant information provided by The American Hair Loss Association
Understanding Hair Transplants (from the American Hair Loss Association)
At this point a hair transplant can only be performed by harvesting DHT resistant hair from the back of your own scalp, and then transplanting it into the balding areas. Typically, men experiencing male pattern baldness will remain with a permanent wreath of hair surrounding the sides and the back of their head, this is where hair is harvested from for transplantation. This hair is genetically programmed to continue to grow even in the worse cases of male pattern baldness.
The exception is men suffering with diffuse hair loss. These men suffer with a similar form of hair loss as women; the hair loss is distributed throughout the entire scalp leaving the sides and the back very sparse. If this hair were to be transplanted, there would be no guarantee that the hair would continue to grow in the recipient area due to the fact that this hair seems to be inherently unstable and just as susceptible to DHT as the hair lost on the top of the scalp. For this reason the vast majority of women suffering from hair loss should never have a hair transplant.
Since hair transplantation is a good option for nearly 90 percent of the balding men in the country, women think that they will make a good hair transplant candidate as well, but this is usually not the case. Very few women have the type of hair loss that would make them good candidates, and that’s because most women have what’s called diffuse hair loss. That means that women have an overall thinning in all areas of the head, including the sides and back, these are the areas that act as donor sites in men. It is from these sites that the hair is removed for hair transplantation to other areas of the head. In men, the donor sites are called stable sites, which means that the hair and follicles in those areas are not affected by the DHT that shrinks follicles elsewhere on the head in those with androgenetic alopecia, or what’s commonly called male pattern baldness. In female pattern baldness, however, these donor areas are usually unstable. They are thinning, [click to continue…]