Hair Replacement Surgery: Does It Work?
As barbers in downtown Salt Lake City we do not recommend any specific Doctors or clinics who perform hair replacement surgery. However, we can tell you a little bit about it so that you can have a better idea if this might be something you should consider in your future.
Because of significant surgical advances with improved results, interest in hair replacement surgery has increased significantly during the past decade. Hair loss affects two out of every three men, and one in five women.
Some people begin to lose hair in their twenties. Frequent shampooing, poor circulation, wearing hats or any other personal habits are not factors that cause hair loss. For men, heredity is the major factor in hair loss.
The first thing a Doctor will do to determine if you are a candidate for hair replacement surgery is to check your “donor area” which is the hair on the sides and back of the head. This hair has a different genetic makeup than the hair on top of your head and it will usually last your entire lifetime. The Doctor will determine if you have enough donor hair to surgically transfer to the top of your head to fill in the thinning or balding areas.
Once this hair is grafted in to the areas on top where it is needed, it grows just as it did on your sides and back of the head. I have friends who have done this as far back as twenty years ago and their hair is still growing just fine and they are very pleased at the results.
Where does the hair for transplanting come from? A lot of people wonder exactly where the hair comes from for hair replacement surgery and how is it extracted. The diagrams above show approximately where the ‘donor area’ is where the hair to be transplanted comes from. Those men who have a lot of hair in their donor area are candidates for larger transplants. Men with smaller donor area are somewhat limited in what they are able to accomplish. An experienced Doctor can inform you on the status of your donor hair and how much work you can have done.
Does the new transplanted hair from the hair replacement surgery grow? This is a great question because if the new transplants did not continue to grow after the hair replacement surgery, nobody would ever get the procedure. Once the surgical transplantation of the hair grafts is completed, it usually takes three to six months for the hair follicles to push through the scalp and see new shafts of hair. The hair that is transplanted usually becomes brittle and falls out…making way for the new hair to grow.
Once it starts growing it is your natural hair and it should grow just like your other hair for the rest of your life. Many men forget that they had anything done because the transplanted hair (which is their real hair to start with) blends in so well with their non-transplanted hair. It grows and you get it cut at the barber shop just like always. The doctors today have greater skills in performing hair replacement surgery to the point where it is often impossible to detect if anything has been done.
Is hair replacement surgery expensive or is it something most men could have done? When you compare the one-time cost of the surgery with the other options, it becomes quite attractive financially in the long run. Yes, the surgery is more expensive and it is an up-front expense…but there are no further costs for the rest of your life.
All the other options might be less on the front-end, but they have very significant ongoing costs for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years or more. And the effectiveness of the two main medications: (1) Rogaine Minoxidil topical creme, (2) Propecia prescription medication pills…are very questionable at best.
Many men have wasted a lot of money on these and achieved little, if any, results. And if you quit applying the topical application or quit taking the prescription pills, you will lose 100% of any benefits you achieved. If it works at all it only works as long as you continue to use these products.
The other option is to be fit for a hair solution, wig, toupee or other artificial creation that looks like real hair. The up-front cost on these can be very expensive…into the thousands of dollars. The maintenance is also very significant as they have to be professionally cleaned, repaired and replaced as they wear out. The cutting of that part which is real hair is also quite expensive making this a very maintenance intensive solution.
When you factor in lifetime expenses of these options and compare them with surgery, the one-time expense looks quite attractive. And don’t forget…this is your real, growing hair which looks and feels great!
Update: July 29, 2019: We have had so many clients over the years who have had this procedure and without exception, they are doing great. They do such excellent work these days that most people can’t even tell they have had any work done at all. The Doctors are getting so good that unless you told someone you did it, they would have no idea.